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ASX invests in e-conveyancing venture

The Australian Securities Exchange has announced that it has invested nearly $7 million into electronic property conveyancing and settlement venture Sympli Australia as part of a 50 per cent shareholding agreement.

Releasing its results for the financial year 2018, the ASX confirmed that it had invested $6.6 million in a joint venture with Australian Technology Innovators (which owns InfoTrack) to form Sympli Australia Pty Ltd (Sympli), as first announced earlier this year.

The new business intends to offer electronic conveyancing (e-conveyancing) solutions for property settlements and will become a competitor to the state government and bank-owned Property Exchange Australia (PEXA).

It comes as states across the country move from paper-based property transactions to digital ones.

The ASX’s annual report reads: “As we assess our future growth options, we are looking for opportunities to leverage the ASX’s expertise and experience, as well as our reputation as a trusted, independent party. An example of this is our investment in Sympli Australia Pty Ltd (Sympli), of which we own 50 per cent.

“Sympli brings together the expertise of InfoTrack, the market leader in the electronic management of property-based information at legal and conveyancing firms, with the ASX, the market leader in resilient and secure settlement services.”

Sympli has applied for a licence to become an electronic lodgment network operator (ELNO) and expects to enter the property settlement market and onboard customers “towards the end of this calendar year”, subject to regulatory approvals.

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The securities exchange noted that the move “coincides with the nationwide move to mandatory electronic settlement over the coming years”.

It continued: “We believe by leveraging the complementary expertise and experience of InfoTrack and the ASX, Sympli will provide a compelling offering for users to realise the efficiencies of electronic property settlements.”

Mr Dominic Stevens, ASX managing director and CEO, commented that the financial year had seen the exchange “pursue new business opportunities”, such as Sympli.

He said: “Our data strategy is developing, where we are looking to help customers optimise the value inherent in the large volume of data we generate across our businesses; and we invested in a joint venture to create a new electronic property settlement business called Sympli, which will leverage the ASX’s expertise in providing secure, electronic financial market settlements to support Australia’s successful transition to full electronic conveyancing.

“The ASX plays a critical role in Australia’s financial markets as a trusted, central and independent party. We are continuing to work hard to preserve and strengthen this, and investing in the technology that enables innovation and growth.

“This will position us to take advantage of new opportunities and leverage our expertise to continue to generate benefits for all of our stakeholders.”

Likewise, deputy CEO Peter Hiom told investors and media: “[W]e are pleased to report that Sympli, our new e-conveyancing joint venture with InfoTrack, is progressing well. The Sympli team, in addition to a number of ASX staff members, are currently focused on working with the banks and obtaining the regulatory approvals required to commence operations.

“Customer feedback has been positive and the business is well advanced in the development of its technology solution.”

[Related: Paper-based conveyancing set to go the way of the dodo]

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