The FCA announced in a speech on 11 April 2016 that its Regulatory Sandbox - which will provide a ‘safe space’ in which businesses can test innovative products, services, business models and delivery mechanisms without immediately incurring all the normal regulatory consequences - will be open to applications from 9 May 2016. It has also published a new webpage, and two new documents on the Sandbox:

  1. Default standards for Sandbox testing parameters; and
  2. Sandbox eligibility criteria.

Authors: Tim Dolan

Setting up the Sandbox

The launch of the much-publicised Sandbox will be an important step for the FCA, both in terms of playing its part in supporting ambitions to make the UK a global leader in FinTech, and more generally helping to further its competition objective.

Plans for a Sandbox were announced last November, as an extension to the FCA’s “Project Innovate” – a project launched in October 2014 which seeks to help innovator businesses developing new products and services to navigate the regulatory landscape.

To date, Project Innovate has offered assistance by helping businesses to understand the regulatory framework and how it applies to them, providing assistance with the authorisation process, and making available dedicated contacts at the regulator. However, businesses still need to commit substantial resources to getting authorised and/or launching products before they can properly test consumer demand. The Sandbox is intended to build on the work of Project Innovate by lowering barriers for businesses to begin testing new products and services.