To drive new Australian jobs, in August 2020, I commissioned a taskforce of senior business leaders in financial services, fintech and technology, chaired by Mr Andrew Low, an experienced global finance executive and non-executive director.
Australia’s tech and finance sectors are sophisticated but very domestic, with a few exceptions. Insurance and financial services make up only one percent of our exports. Less than six percent of managed funds are held on behalf of foreign investors, compared to 40 percent in the UK and 75 percent in Singapore.
To formalise our national approach, the Morrison Government launched the Global Talent and Investment Taskforce led by Peter Verwer AO. To complement this work, we pulled together this group of technology and finance organisations, both large and small.
The mandate for the Australian Finance & Technology Centre Advisory Group was to develop a set of policy options to attract more Asia-Pacific headquarters to Australia and improve the international competitiveness of Australia as a financial centre.
The Low Report has made fifteen recommendations, actionable right now, to create high-quality jobs with negligible cost to the Federal Budget.
The timing is right for Australia to offer a more attractive environment, including because of the movement of some businesses out of Hong Kong (attracting just 5% of HK’s finance activity here, rather than Singapore, could equate to 13,000 new jobs in Australia).
There are exciting opportunities for Australia if we adopt some of these recommendations. The Committee has drawn upon its deep business expertise and global knowledge to offer tangible policy solutions which allow Australia to compete effectively with Singapore, Tokyo and other centres for new investment.
We can end the narrative that Australia is too expensive and complex by making Australia a real choice for regional head offices as well as new investment opportunities.
The competition is real. Our competitors have set up equivalents to our Global Talent and Investment Taskforce so we must move quickly.
I thank Mr Low and the Committee for their investment of time and for their outstanding work which the government will now consider.