Regulatory and Digital Sandbox applications open

To support innovation during this time, we are opening applications for both Cohort 7 of the regulatory sandbox and the digital sandbox pilot. 

We are committed to supporting innovation within financial services. In particular, we believe innovation has an important role to play as we tackle some of the medium-term challenges arising from the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The 3 key areas we are particularly interested in seeing new products and solutions emerge are:

  • detecting and preventing fraud and scams
  • supporting the financial resilience of vulnerable consumers
  • improving access to finance for small and medium sized enterprises

Relationship between the 2 Sandboxes

The regulatory and digital sandboxes are designed to complement each other and will offer different services, tools, and features. Together, they enable us to broaden our support to a wider range of innovative firms, from early stage proof of concept development and thinking in the digital sandbox, to testing new products or services with consumers in the regulatory sandbox.

Cohort 7 of the regulatory sandbox is open to authorised and unauthorised firms as well as technology businesses that are looking to deliver innovation in the UK financial services market.

Cohort 7 will operate in the same way as previous cohorts, allowing businesses to test innovative propositions in the market, with real consumers. The same eligibility criteria, application process and support will apply as usual. Find more information on our regulatory sandbox page.

The digital sandbox pilot, launched by the FCA and the City of London Corporation, aims to support earlier stage innovation where products and solutions are still in development and not at the stage where they are ready to be tested with consumers or in a live production environment. 

The digital sandbox pilot is intended to act as a trial to evaluate the value of this type of service to the market, with a view to establishing a permanent digital sandbox in the future if successful.

The table below describes the tools and services being made available to innovative firms:

Regulatory Sandbox Who this is for Tools and services

The regulatory sandbox seeks to provide firms with:

  • The ability to test products and services in a controlled environment.
  • Reduced time-to-market at potentially lower cost.
  • Support in identifying appropriate consumer protection safeguards to build into new products and services; and
  • Better access to finance through demonstration of the proposed innovation in a real-world context
     
  • Firms looking to deliver innovation that is either regulated business or supports regulated business in the UK financial services market.
  • Firms and approaches which are genuinely innovative and that offer a good prospect of identifiable benefit to consumers.  
  • Firms which have a need to test in our regulatory sandbox and are ready to test the innovation in the market with real consumers.

Firms that are accepted into the regulatory sandbox will have access to a range of sandbox tools, including: 

  • A dedicated case officer in the sandbox team and access to regulatory expertise. 
  • Restricted Authorisation. Firms conducting regulated activity in the UK must be authorised to do so. Successful firms will need to apply for the relevant authorisation or registration in order to test. We have a tailored authorisation process for firms accepted into the sandbox. Any authorisation or registration will be restricted to allow firms to test only their innovations as agreed with us. 
  • Informal steers. We can provide informal steers on potential regulatory implications of an innovative product or business model that is at an early stage of development.
Digital Sandbox Who this is for Tools and services

The digital sandbox seeks to support innovative firms in the development of new products and services by providing access to:

  • Synthetic data sets.
  • An Application programming interface (API) market place. 
  • Integrated development environment.
  • A collaboration platform.
  • An observation deck.
     
  • Are at the ideation or proof of concept stage in the product lifecycle.
  • Need access to synthetic data sets and other types of support to further develop or validate their idea or solution.
  • Want to demonstrate the value of their solution to potential partners in the financial services industry. 

 

  • Synthetic data sets to enable testing, training and validation of prototype technology solutions, for example transactional banking data sets, SME .
  • An API Marketplace where digital service providers list and provide access to services via APIs
  • An Integrated development environment in which to develop and test their solution
  • An ecosystem of key organisations, such as incumbents, academia, government bodies, venture capital, and charities that will provide support and input
  • A platform to showcase their solutions to regulators and other interested parties to observe in-flight testing at a technical level.

Find more information on how to apply to Cohort 7 of the Regulatory Sandbox and the digital sandbox pilot.