Project Innovate and Innovation Hub

Through our Innovation Hub we want new and established businesses - both regulated and non-regulated - to be able to introduce innovative financial products and services to the market.

The support we offer to businesses through the Innovation Hub includes:

  • a dedicated team and contact for innovator businesses
  • help for these businesses to understand the regulatory framework and how it applies to them
  • assistance in preparing and making an application for authorisation, to ensure the business understands our regulatory regime and what it means for them
  • a dedicated contact for up to a year after an innovator business is authorised

The Innovation Hub will identify areas where our regulatory framework needs to adapt to enable further innovation in the interests of consumers.

International engagement

Through international engagement the Innovation Hub supports the FCA’s competition objective by promoting the UK as a centre for innovation in financial services. It does this by:

  1. Facilitating the entry of innovative overseas firms to the UK, thereby increasing innovation and competition in UK financial services markets.
  2. Facilitating the expansion of UK-based innovative firms into overseas markets, making them potentially more sustainable challengers in the UK.

We have signed co-operation agreements with overseas regulators in order to support the above. The agreements with the regulators below include a referral mechanism for innovative businesses seeking to enter the other’s market. The regulators will provide support to innovative businesses before, during and after authorisation to help reduce regulatory uncertainty and time to market. The agreements we have signed are with:

To qualify for the support offered by the agreement, innovator businesses will need to meet the eligibility criteria of their home regulator’s Innovation Hub equivalent. Once referred by the regulator, and ahead of applying for authorisation to operate in the new market, the business will have access to a dedicated team or contact person who will help them to understand the regulatory framework in the market they wish to join, and how it applies to them. These businesses will be given help during the authorisation processes with access to expert staff and, where appropriate, the implementation of a specialised authorisation process. Following authorisation, the businesses will have a dedicated contact to turn to for a year.

If you would like to make use of the referral mechanism, please complete the Request for Support form, stating the regulator which you would like to be referred to.

We have also signed a co-operation agreement with the overseas regulator below which enables them to share information about financial services innovations in their respective markets, including emerging trends and regulatory issues. The agreement we have signed is with:

The FCA also works closely with HM Treasury and the Department for International Trade as part of the FinTech Bridges initiative.

RegTech

In 2015 we started to explore how regulatory requirements and technology could come together through regulatory technology – so called RegTech. This was in line with both the Government Office for Science review on how to support growth and development of the UK’s FinTech market (the FinTech Futures Report) and the call for regulators to engage with RegTech by the Chancellor in the March 2015 Budget.

We published a Feedback Statement on our RegTech Call for Input in July 2016. This report provides a summary of the key themes from the responses and outlines the FCA’s next steps in relation to RegTech.

We have a particular interest in working with those involved in developing technologies to improve regulatory reporting and data sharing – both between firms and between regulated firms and the regulator – and in making our Handbook more accessible.

Project Innovate: Next steps

Read more about what we have achieved so far with Project Innovate and our next steps for the year ahead.

Call for Input

On 17 June 2015, we launched a Call for Input to learn about specific rules and policies, either in the UK or at EU level, that are restricting innovation or that should be introduced to facilitate innovation in digital and mobile solutions.

We published a Feedback Statement with a summary of our responses to the feedback received on 8 March 2016, and an outline of the steps we are taking to address the issues raised.

The Cloud

On 7 July 2016 we published finalised guidance for firms outsourcing to the ‘cloud’ and other third party IT services. This guidance addresses concerns raised by a number of innovative businesses.

Advice Unit

The Financial Advice Market Review (FAMR) has recommended that we should build on the success of Project Innovate and establish an ‘Advice Unit’ to help firms develop their automated advice models.

The FCA is considering the impact of this recommendation and how this unit could be developed. We will issue a statement setting out our plans and proposals for implementing the ‘Advice Unit’ and engaging with industry to support financial advice models with genuine mass market impact in the financial advice space.

An overview of the Innovation Hub

The Innovation Hub was set up by the FCA to do two main things. First it provides direct support to innovative firms who are trying to launch new products into the market that we think might benefit consumers, and the second thing is it’s the centre for our innovation policy.