Melbourne or Sydney? It’s the wrong question for the best financial services

Guy Danskine
Melbourne or Sydney? It’s the wrong question for the best financial services

From a financial services perspective, Sydney has traditionally been home to Australia’s stock exchanges and regulatory bodies, but Melbourne is an increasingly attractive destination for new players. Melbourne now ranks 10th for banking in the Global Financial Centres Index – three places higher than Sydney – as this momentum builds.[1]

Fast-growing industry disrupters including Afterpay, Airwallex and Marqeta have all recently set up or expanded their presence in Melbourne. Swiss fintech Tradeplus24 advised other startups to do the same after landing here two years ago.[2]

Whether you’re a big bank or a challenger brand, or a fintech or a payments service company weighing up if you should concentrate your efforts in one market or the other is asking the wrong question. Providing competitive financial services in Australia requires strong links between the two.

As part of expansion efforts, financial services organisations must assess their digital maturity and accelerate transformation initiatives across both cities. It’s about connecting easily and securely with cloud providers, network service providers and other financial services counterparties including retail banks, payment processors, stock exchanges and fraud detection platforms. This minimises risk, improves performance and reduces cost.

Equinix has expanded its Melbourne presence in recent years and operates four facilities within 20 kilometres of each other, including two adjacent facilities in our Port Melbourne campus. This is ideal for financial services organisations that require a high-availability architecture for applications deployed within the metro area, while offering direct links to our global platform including high-speed interstate connectivity to Sydney.

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This is an attractive model for the fintech community because it enables a level playing field, where everyone has the same access to infrastructure as the largest banks, payment processors and payment networks.

We also offer connectivity with most of the major cloud and network service providers in Australia from AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud to Telstra, Optus and Vocus. It’s much easier to connect to these providers from within our data centres, rather than creating and managing each of these connections separately.

We put organisations at the doorstep to almost all clouds, where we provide flexible, high-speed connectivity to support critical financial infrastructure. We recognise that in the banking and finance realm, establishing seamless levels of interoperability between any physical infrastructure built in our data centres to multiple cloud and service providers is key, as this balances flexibility with service assurance.

It also provides high levels of redundancy that are difficult to replicate. This simplifies deployment of fault tolerant applications for organisations to ensure maximum levels of uptime, which overcomes a major pain point from a regulatory compliance and data governance perspective.

We also work closely with local managed services providers (MSPs) that have strong knowledge of Australian financial markets and regulatory environment and can facilitate introductions to these organisations. This can drive major cost efficiencies, reducing the amount of spending that FSI firms expend on adhering to regulatory guidelines, which is significant considering the average financial institution spends a staggering US$16.01 million on compliance annually, according to the Ponemon institute.[1]

By establishing a footprint in our Melbourne data centre network, financial institutions can streamline connectivity between the different services they already utilise to deliver differentiated customer and employee experiences. We offer a completely neutral environment, with the largest range of vendors and partners, so FSI businesses can be confident that our facilities will cater to their technology requirements, regardless of their vendor portfolio.

These elements are crucial for FSI firms looking to expand their presence across both Melbourne and Sydney, as forging productive relationships with the right partners will help manage overheads while providing an optimum customer experience.

[1]https://www.longfinance.net/media/documents/GFCI_29_Full_Report_2021.03.17_v1.1.pdf

[2]https://www.businessinsider.com.au/tradeplus24-says-melbourne-clear-choice-for-overseas-tech-startups-instead-of-sydney-2019-7

[3]http://www.ponemon.org/local/upload/file/True_Cost_of_Compliance_Report_copy.pdf

Guy Danskine
Guy Danskine Managing Director, Australia