News Pulse for August 8, 2018

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

How ASIC agents will watch bank staff from the floor

Australian Securities and Investments Commission chairman James Shipton plans to embed teams of up to 20 agents for weeks at a time to sit with bank staff, drop into meetings and trail the CEO, executives and directors to identify misconduct before it arises.

Mr Shipton, who experienced the idea first-hand working at Goldman Sachs in Hong Kong, is being backed by $70.1 million in additional funding from Treasurer Scott MorrisonThe Hon. Scott Morrison, Federal Member for Cook Treasurer from 21.9.15, who denied the regulators would be “spying” on the banks, but “getting in there and being part of the community, which they are regulating”.

VC debt funding — a key source of finance for US startups — is finally coming to Australia

Australian startup founders, who sometimes despair at the equity deals offered by potential investors because it dilutes their stake in the businesses they created, will soon have better access to debt funding.

Debt venture capital (VC) funding is an integral part of the startup finance culture in the US where major players include Hercules Capital and Silicon Valley Bank but in Australia such funds are hard to get.

Small business Ombudsman Kate Carnell calls on government to increase instant asset write-off to $100,000 

Australia’s Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell has called on the government to up the instant asset write-off from $20,000 to $100,000 in a move that would be a boon to sectors such as farming and manufacturing.

Facing the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics for the inquiry into impediments to business investment in Australia this morning, Carnell raised a number of issues around factors holding back business investment in Australia.

Businesses fear inquiry wash-up

As Treasurer Scott MorrisonThe Hon. Scott Morrison, Federal Member for Cook Treasurer from 21.9.15 announced that “corporate cops” would patrol inside the big banks to open their day-to-day operations to the regulator, business owners around the country shivered.

And, as I discuss below, that small and medium business shiver will be multiplied many times in shareholder ranks and it reinforces my commentary last month that the golden age of banking is ending.

Open banking is coming but Australians are sceptical

Ask someone about open banking and they’re likely to respond with a shrug.

If you go on to explain it – that by next July new laws will permit consumers to allow other financial companies and third parties access to their banking information – you’ll almost certainly get a resounding “no way!”

 Xero adds GoCardless integration

Cloud accounting provider Xero now offers GoCardless integration to its Australian users.

UK-based GoCardless provides a convenient way for small businesses to receive payments from their customers via direct debit.nnThe Xero integration with GoCardless triggers the debit on the due date of an invoice, eliminating the need to chase unpaid invoices and improving the accuracy of cashflow forecasting.

Making sure foreign investors pay their fair share of tax | The Hon Scott Morrison MP

The Turnbull Government is continuing to protect the integrity of Australia’s corporate tax system by tightening the rules on stapled structures.

These entities have been used by foreigners to reduce the tax paid on the income they earn from their Australian investments.

Tips, comments or suggestions? Let me know in the comments, send me an email or tweet me @simeonduncan.

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