The Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN) was formally launched in January 2019 by an international group of financial regulators and related organisations, including the FCA. This built on the FCA’s early 2018 proposal to create a global sandbox. The FCA now leads and chairs the Network.
The GFIN is a network of more than 60 organisations committed to supporting financial innovation in the interests of consumers.
The GFIN seeks to provide a more efficient way for innovative firms to interact with regulators, helping them navigate between countries as they look to scale new ideas. This includes the ability to conduct a cross-border test – a solution for firms wishing to test innovative products, services or business models across more than one jurisdiction.
It also aims to create a new framework for co-operation between financial services regulators on innovation related topics, sharing different experiences and approaches.
As part of its commitment to be an open initiative, the GFIN launched its own website in January 2020. The website provides information about the GFIN’s membership, cross-border testing and publications produced by the GFIN since its launch.
GFIN – development and progress
In June 2019, the GFIN published a report setting out the progress made in its first year, the challenges it has faced, and its ambitions and plans for the future. It also describes the work done to engage with stakeholders.
The GFIN was originally proposed in a consultation paper in August 2018. The GFIN received 99 responses from 26 jurisdictions in response to the consultation paper. The response from industry and other international regulators was overwhelmingly positive in favour of establishing the GFIN to facilitate a new practical method of regulatory collaboration on innovation and creating an environment for cross-border testing.
Following this consultation, the GFIN finalised terms of reference for governance and membership of the group and confirmed 3 primary functions:
- To act as a network of regulators to collaborate and share experience of innovation in respective markets, including emerging technologies and business models, and to provide accessible regulatory contact information for firms.
- To provide a forum for joint RegTech work and collaborative knowledge sharing/lessons learned.
- To provide firms with an environment in which to trial cross-border solutions.
After the end of the consultation, the GFIN discussed further development of our core functions and next steps of the network. Alongside discussions on the sharing of experience, regulators involved agreed to launch a pilot phase of cross-border testing (for firms) and to formalise the membership and governance structure for regulators and international organisations interested in joining the Network.
Following the consultation feedback, the GFIN:
- Launched a pilot phase of cross-border testing that provided the network the necessary learnings to be able to open applications for the first official cohort. Applications open until 31 December 2020.
- As part of the finalised terms of reference for governance and membership, expanding from the founding 12 members, the group now includes over 60 organisations. Financial regulators and related organisations with a commitment to supporting innovation in the interest of consumers are invited to join.
In January 2020, the GFIN published the Cross-border testing: lessons learned report to reflect on our achievements and the challenges faced during the pilot phase in 2019. Building on the solutions announced in that report (including the launch of the GFIN website and Regulatory Compendium), the GFIN has developed several tools and solutions to improve the cross-border testing framework for a new cohort of firms:
- a single-entry application form to simplify the process for firms
- cross-border testing questions and answers to help firms understand the process
- an evolved Regulatory Compendium clarifying the remit and interests of participating regulators and the types of innovation services available
- extending the application window to 9 weeks to allow firms more time to consider and prepare their applications
See the GFIN website for more information about wider cross-border testing, including how to apply.
24/10/2019: Information added GFIN moved to quarterly new member application review. Update to reflect 12 new members
09/08/2019: Document update Changes to Terms of Reference amend process for new members ie new application form