The Financial Conduct Authority has opened its regulatory sandbox for applications throughout the year.
It was previously operated on a cohort basis and firms could only apply during specific dates in the year.
The regulatory sandbox provides firms with access to regulatory expertise and a set of tools to facilitate pre-launch testing.
Firms could test products and services in a controlled environment while reducing time-to-market at potentially lower cost.
It supports in identifying appropriate consumer protection safeguards to build into new products and services and better access to finance.
The FCA said: “While the cohort approach was appropriate for a testing environment, which served as a blueprint for regulators all over the world, the sandbox required changes to reflect its maturity and the lessons learned since its inception in 2016.
“The Kalifa Review of UK FinTech recommended that the sandbox be enhanced to provide more value to firms. This included a specific recommendation that the sandbox be made available on a rolling basis, rather than through time-limited windows.
“By making this change, firms can now access our sandbox testing services at the right point in their development lifecycle, to maximise the benefits of live market testing for progressing their innovative models.”
In an application guide published on 2 August the FCA said sandbox tests are expected to have a clear objective such as reducing costs to consumers and to be conducted on a small scale.
The regulator said the applicant’s innovation proposal should be intended for the UK market and should constitute a genuinely innovative technology, approach, product, service, or model related to a theme of particular focus for the FCA.
The sandbox is for authorised firms, technology businesses, as well unauthorised firms that require authorisation, to deliver innovation in the UK financial services market.
Source: Money Marketing