Pulse Alert – News Pulse for February 11, 2019

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

Less competition could hurt consumers

Like many planners who run their own small businesses, Brad Lonergan is optimistic about what changes the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry will usher in.

He welcomes, in particular, any bad apples leaving the industry and an improvement in the culture of banks’ wealth divisions, which he concedes have been hobbled by a ‘sell, sell, sell’ ethos.

Banks’ iron grip loosened

The ACCCAustralian Competition and Consumer Commission The ACCC is Australia's competition regulator and national consumer law champion. has quietly built a ­financial competition branch aimed at slowly but surely removing the barriers to competing with the big four banks, which control 75 per cent of the market.

In a Financial Times interview this week, ACCCAustralian Competition and Consumer Commission The ACCC is Australia's competition regulator and national consumer law champion. boss Rod Sims confided that “market economies only work if they have competition and we have to make sure there is more in banking. They have to feel under threat.”

Fintechs received almost half of $1 billion in startup funding from last quarter

The quarter ending December 2018 saw Australian fintechs receive $508 million in funding.

A new report of funding for Australia’s startups and young tech companies by Techboard has found that these companies received an impressive $1.066 billion in funding in the quarter ending December 2018. While this was a small reduction from the $1.085 billion in funding received during the September 2018 quarter, it’s an almost 40% increase from the previous year where there was $762 million worth of funding.

‘They don’t care about innovation’: Government pulls funding for Startup Muster, meaning survey may shut down

The largest and only comprehensive survey of Australian startups is at risk of shutting down entirely, with the federal government ending its ongoing funding and support for Startup Muster.

Speaking to StartupSmart ahead of Startup Muster’s announcement today, founder Murray Hurps says he has been told by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science it would no longer be looking to procure data from the survey, effectively ending the company’s main source of revenue.

Commonwealth Bank unveils changes to boost small business

The nation’s biggest bank, Commonwealth Bank, will unveil a series of changes on Monday aimed at boosting its relationship with small businesses, including “same day” decision-making on simple business lending and more support for businesses facing financial hardship.

Other measures include a commitment to remove more business banking fees, and the abolition of default interest charges from business loans on farmers hit by drought or natural disasters.

CBA commits to easing SME credit squeeze

Commonwealth Bank will respond to concerns of a looming credit squeeze for small businesses owners with a commitment to keep lending and the removal of a series of unpopular fees and charges.

The bank will announce the changes on Monday in response to community concerns and political pressure following the release of the Hayne royal commission’s final report, which many feared would be a catalyst for a tightening of credit.

CBA to woo small business

Commonwealth Bank is moving to restore its image among small-business customers.

In a “commitment to small business” announcement to be made today, the nation’s biggest bank will state its intention to “listen to our customers, put their needs first and become a simpler, better bank”.

Fintech Australia’s new GM says sector no longer just disruptive

The  fintech  sector has seen a rapid rise in the last few years, underlined by advancing technological capabilities which finally give it the ability to reach its potential. According to the new general manager of Fintech Australia, Rebecca Schot-Guppy, the industry is ready to take another leap towards the mainstream.

As the fallout from the Royal Commission’s final report continues to spill out into the news, coupled with more executives leaving their posts, faith in the  major banks  is at its lowest level for quite a while. This allows challengers to the bigger players to make a name for themselves, and Schot-Guppy believes the fintech sector is ready to move away from purely being disruptive.

ATO encourages small business owners to prepare for Single Touch Payroll

The Australian Taxation Office is encouraging small business owners to take some simple steps as they transition to Single Touch Payroll reporting (STP).

Single Touch Payroll is a new way for business owners to send tax and super information to the ATO Australian Taxation Office from accounting software, however some software may need to be updated to allow STP reporting.

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