ASIC to launch innovation hub

ASIC chairman Greg Medcraft has revealed that the regulator is planning to launch an innovation hub in the upcoming financial year to help startups navigate Australia's regulatory landscape.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is planning to launch an innovation hub, according to chairman Greg Medcraft.

In his opening address at the ASIC Forum 2015 event in Sydney on Monday, Medcraft said that the hub would be established in the upcoming financial year to advise innovative startups and fintech businesses on how best to navigate Australia's regulatory system.

He also revealed that the corporate regulator is working to streamline common application processes, give "innovative businesses" a dedicated contact in ASIC, and develop an "innovative" portal on its website, with the aim of establishing a one-stop shop for innovative businesses to access information and services targeted directly at them.

"Next year, ASIC will also be introducing a live web chat facility for our registry business. Starting with simple registration inquiries, it will allow businesses to resolve issues in real time by engaging directly with an ASIC employee," he added.

Medcraft also used his address to reiterate his call for Australian industry to adopt the United States' NIST Cybersecurity Framework in a bid to establish an international standard with which to address existing and emerging online security issues.

"For critical infrastructure, we must develop a consistent language to communicate the capability and maturity of an organisation's cyber resilience," he said. "Adopting the same standard around the world -- such as the US National Institute for Standards and Technology Framework used in the United States -- would provide a consistent baseline needed to tackle this global problem."

With the release on March 19 of ASIC's Report 429, Cyber resilience: Health check, Medcraft said that online attacks are a major risk for ASIC's "regulated population", and, as such, digital resilience is an increasingly important area of focus for the commission.

In addition to suggesting that local industry adopt the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, the report also called for greater collaboration between the private sector and government in order to help bolster Australia's resilience against online attacks.

"We encourage collaboration with industry and the government to ensure responses to cyber attacks can be coordinated and information on risks shared," the report said.