Convergence and emergence are changing the regulatory landscape markedly, according to former Victorian bureaucrat and Nous Group consultant Claire Noone.
The rapid rollout of major new services and products powered by large global digital platforms is fuelling a major reshape of the consumer landscape. In an environment when supermarkets have become banks and insurance companies, traditional vertical firms offering horizontal services, and the emergence of the sharing economy, the job for regulators has become particularly difficult.
“As all these distinctions become less clear in the marketplace, the particular regulatory regime that applies to, for example, banking or insurance or telecommunications becomes less relevant or less clear as to how it’s going to apply in these emerging industries or as this convergence occurs,” Noone told an online forum on modern regulation for The Mandarin.
The speed and scale of these changes is challenging industry and consumer regulators across the country and internationally, exposing the ability of policy and lawmakers to respond in a timely and effective manner. This raises questions on whether a less prescriptive model, more focussed on outcomes than tight statutory regulation, is the better way forward.
It also suggests a new mindset for regulators that is about enabling innovation, rather than simply removing red tape and other obstacles.
Given the long lead times to change legislative frameworks, how can regulators adapt their approach to the new business environment, so they remain relevant in such a fast-changing world?
Noone joined Delia Rickard, deputy chair at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, and John Stanton, CEO of Communications Alliance, the group which represents the communications and telco industry, for the 45-minute Google Hangout discussion. The Mandarin publisher Tom Burton is moderator.