ACCC’s Sims warns on big bank fintech takeovers

ACCC’s Sims warns on big bank fintech takeovers

Competition regulator Rod Sims has warned big bank acquisitions of fintech challengers could stifle competition and deny consumers future benefits from innovation, vowing to closely scrutinise any deals if they arise.

While Mr Sims stressed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) would not necessarily try to block all such deals, he also indicated the regulator would look more favourably on takeovers of disruptive fintechs by second-tier banks.

However, the chair of a Senate inquiry into fintech, Liberal Senator Andrew Bragg, said it was important the regulator did not deter vital investment in innovation by the big four banks.

With the major banks all looking to invest in fintech as the industry deals with sweeping technological change, the ACCC chairman said it was important for consumers that the big four did not swallow up potential digital challengers.

The major banks have so far preferred to take stakes in fintech firms rather than buy them outright, but Mr Sims said it would be concerning to the ACCC if big banks snapped up their truly disruptive fintech rivals, because of the harm this would do to competition.

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Source: ACCC’s Sims warns on big bank fintech takeovers