News Pulse for November 6, 2017

A daily download of SME, startup, fintech and tax news from around Australia.

Amazon may have to modify its returns policy: ACCC

Amazon may have to modify its returns policy to meet the “stronger” consumer guarantees in Australia or risk breaching local consumer laws, the competition regulator has warned ahead of the retailer’s official Australian launch at the end of November .

Amazon.com has a 30-day return policy and provides free repair for products that are covered under the warranty by the manufacturer.

The typical Australian fintech startup enjoyed a 208% jump in revenue this year

Industry body FinTech Australia has revealed statistics that show local fintech startups booming in the face of regulatory reforms and overseas competition.

According to the 2017 EY FinTech Australia Census, the median monthly revenue growth rate for fintech startups for the 2017 financial year was 208%.

Poor urban planning hampering SME growth

Governments and councils are inadvertently pushing customers away from the very businesses they claim to be supporting through poor planning decisions.

Peter Strong, CEO of the Council of Small Businesses of Australia (COSBOA Council of Small Business Australia), suggested that poor urbaReserve Bank of Australia www.rba.gov.aun planning and infrastructure developments are effectively stifling SMEs and handing customers directly to larger players.

‘Amazon may not be the screaming success here everyone thinks’

The competition watchdog will allow Amazon to undercut local businesses with ultra-low prices when it enters the Australian market as early as this month in a blow to retailers hoping the regulator would intervene to protect them from the $US530 billion giant.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims told AFR Weekend that Amazon will be able to set low prices to win business without breaching misuse of market provisions in the competition laws.

NBN plugs in to business woes

DISGRUNTLED businesses will have their problems dealt with faster under a series of changes aimed at easing frustrations with the National Broadband Network.

NBN Co will today announce the new initiatives as they work to improve their services and relationships with Australian businesses.

Amazon allowed to undercut Australian retailer pricing with huge discounts

Amazon is tipped to officially begin its business in Australia by the end of November and the giant retailer will be allowed to undercut local businesses with loss-making prices. It is expected that Amazon will open for business in Australia later this month to coincide with the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping frenzy.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Chairman Rod Sims confirmed through Fairfax Media that Amazon can set prices low enough. In doing so, it would not breach competition laws.

StartupAUS refreshes its leadership team

Australia’s peak advocacCommunications Access Co-ordinatory group for startups, StartupAUS, has welcomed four new board members: Elaine Stead (MD, Blue Sky Venture Capital), Rachael Neumann (investment advisor and strategist), Attila Brungs (Vice Chancellor and President, UTS) and Aaron Birkby (CEO, Startup Catalyst).

The newcomers join current board members Alex McCauley (CEO, StartupAUS), Teresa Engelhard (company director and investor), Alan Noble (Engineering Director, Google ANZ), Peter Bradd (Co-founder and CEO, The Beanstalk Factory), Bill Bartee (General Partner, Main Sequence Ventures – CSIRO Innovation Fund) and Topaz Conway (Chair of the Board, StartupAUS and Chair of SBE Australia).

According to McCauley, the chief executive of StartupAUS, the combination of the advocacCommunications Access Co-ordinatory group’s new and existing board members means it has “one of the most diverse and influential boards in the country”

Fintech startup Trade Ledger has world-first tech to help banks

Career technologists, Martin McCann and Dr. Matthias Born, are launching a world-first lending tech for banks and traditional lenders that will help to equip them against competition from tech giants such as Facebook, Tencent, and eBay wanting to enter financial services.

Trade Ledger  is the world’s first business lending platform that transforms digital data from business supply chains in real time, allowing banks to assess and regularly update credit and default risk of businesses they lend to. Currently this is only done on a one-off or infrequent basis on a very small sample of invoices, and not on any other trade documents.

ATO cracks down on multinationals amid global document leak

The Australian Tax Office (ATO Australian Taxation Office) has taken action against 19 multinational companies as it unpicks a scheme capable of pushing millions of tax dollars offshore.

The ATO Australian Taxation Office is also cracking down on high-profile Australian advisory firms and an international web of offshore law firms suspected of promoting tax avoidance schemes through tax havens.

Small Business Ombudsman calls for Govt to consider UK approach to boosting SME finance

The Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, has floated the idea of a Government-backed approach to small business lending, modelled on the British Business Bank, to improve access to finance for SMEs.

Kate Carnell told Dynamic Business that the tightening of prudential requirements by APRA and other regulators globally, following the Global Financial Crisis, meant it has become more profitable for banks to lend against properties.

Australian FinTech streaming ahead | The Hon Scott Morrison MP

The Turnbull Government welcomes the release today of the EY FinTech Australia Census 2017, which reveals the strength and maturity of Australia’s FinTech sector.

The Census provides a comprehensive overview of the Australian FinTech landscape, showing that the number of FinTech firms operating in Australia is now approaching 600, having more than doubled since 2015. This growth in FinTech firms is an indicator that the products and services offered are in demand from Australian consumers and significantly, the Census reports that more than half of Australian FinTech firms are looking to expand overseas.

Australian fintech leader warns there will be ‘consolidation’ among startups

Australian fintech has celebrated the latest industry census results that show an ecosystem maturing, but one of its leaders has warned that also means startup mergers would follow.

FinTech Australia, at its annual Intersekt festival in Melbourne on Friday, revealed in its census results that the industry now generally had startups more mature than a year ago, and that a median 208% revenue growth was showing mainstream acceptance of non-bank alternatives.

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