Story image

NZ emerging as top fintech hub across Asia Pacific

New Zealand has been ranked as one the fastest emerging fintech hubs across the Asia Pacific region. 

The first Global Fintech Index city rankings 2020 by Findexable also ranked New Zealand as one of the top 10 fintech destinations in the region. 

The index identifies emerging hubs, fintech companies and trends of fintech ecosystems in more than 230 cities across 65 countries.

FintechNZ general manager James Brown says creating a positive business environment for fintech has helped Auckland reach 21st position in Asia Pacific, Brown says.

Globally, New Zealand is ranked 45th in the index. Top of the Global Fintech index city rankings 2020 is the San Francisco Bay area, followed by London, New York and Singapore. The United States takes first position on the list for fintech countries followed by the United Kingdom and Singapore.

"Fintech is now a key agenda item for the Kiwi regulator group of the Council of Financial Regulators (CoFR) which has been operating since 2011 as a forum for agencies with responsibility for financial sector regulation," says Brown.

CoFR is comprised of the Reserve Bank, Financial Markets Authority, the Treasury, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Commerce Commission. Its three super funds are valued at $220bn.

"They could increase the nine percent they invest in New Zealand and free up capital for the growing tech sector. This would attract more talent and entrepreneurs to come to New Zealand and collaborate, invest or test and learn in our market," Brown explains.

"New Zealand could then become the gateway to Asia, with great connections in both Singapore and Hong Kong," he says.

"Open banking is not working in the United Kingdom as efficiently as it could, and I believe Australia will end up with the same result."
Brown says banks are moving closer to an industry approach, which he fully supports. 

"This will benefit all New Zealanders and provide more competition in a dominated market and more transparency across financial services," he says. "This is good timing with global economies slowing and very low interest rates or negative rates in some cases, offering more choice of products suitable to customers demands.

"This will help target digital literacy which will help to reduce the number of SMEs that fall over, due to cashflow," Brown says. 

"Better awareness of products can help the small business owner using AI and digital assistants with voice activation will help support many of Kiwi SMEs which make up more than 95% of companies in this country," he explains.