FCA reveals the fourth round of successful firms in its regulatory sandbox

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) today announces the 29 firms that were successful in their applications to begin testing in the fourth cohort of the sandbox.

The regulatory sandbox allows firms to test innovative products, services or business models in a live market environment, while ensuring that appropriate protections are in place. It is part of Innovate, an initiative kicked off in 2014 to promote competition in the interest of consumers. Since its inception Innovate has had over 1200 applications and has supported more than 500 firms. The sandbox was a first for regulators worldwide, underlining the FCA’s commitment to innovation in financial services.

Christopher Woolard, executive director of Strategy and Competition at the FCA, said:

“I am pleased to say that this is the largest sandbox cohort to date with a record number of applicants meeting our eligibility criteria. Cohort 4 has seen a large increase in the number of firms testing wholesale propositions including firms that are aiming to increase the efficiency of the capital-raising process. Alongside these we can see significant use of distributed ledger technology (DLT), some experimentation with cryptoassets which will help inform our policy work and propositions aimed at helping lower income consumers.”

Cohort 4

The FCA received 69 applications to cohort four of the regulatory sandbox, an increase on the number of applications to cohort three. 29 firms will proceed to test.

As with the previous cohorts, the FCA continues to see successful applications from a diverse range of sectors, locations and firm sizes. Areas covered include consumer credit, automated advice and travel insurance.

Eight firms (27%) are operating in the wholesale sector. This is a large increase on cohort 3 where we had three firms with wholesale propositions. Five large firm tests will be conducted in cohort 4; the largest number to date.

Over 40% of companies accepted to cohort four are using DLT. Of these, six are using DLT to automate the issuance of debt or equity. Two are using DLT to support the provision of insurance. Other technology applied includes geo-location technology, use of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and artificial intelligence.

We have accepted a small number of firms that will be testing propositions relating to cryptoassets. We are keen to explore whether, in a controlled environment, consumer benefits can be delivered while effectively managing the associated risks.

The current cohort consists of the firms listed below. One firm has asked not to be named at this point in time.

Tests will be conducted on a short-term and small-scale basis and the FCA has worked with the sandbox firms to agree testing parameters and build in robust consumer safeguards.

Cohort 4 firms

Description

BlockEx

Platform that facilitates the issuance and manages the lifecycle of regulated bonds using DLT.

Capexmove

 

DLT-based solution for issuing tokenised debt. Capexmove uses smart contracts to make debt financing more efficient.

Chasing Returns

 

Psychology based risk platform that promotes good money management discipline and improves outcomes for customers that trade Contracts for Difference (CfDs). It acts like a digital coach, encouraging adherence to money management and risk exposure levels.

Community First Credit Union

 

Initiative to facilitate creation of an identity token that supports customers who lack traditional forms of ID, in order to assist them in accessing bank account services in the UK.

Creativity Software

 

RegTech solution that supports regulated activities in the UK to achieve more secure customer authentication via mobile phone network based geolocation services. The intention is to draw on geolocation technology to protect UK bank customers from fraud and crime.

CreditSCRIPT

 

Investment platform that gives professional and institutional investors access to a wide range of online lending markets through a single access point. Investors will be able to gain exposure to consumer, SME and real estate loans via CreditSCRIPT.

Dashly

 

Fully autonomous, ‘always-on’ mortgage advice platform that continuously tracks and compares a borrower’s existing mortgage, alerting them the moment it pays to switch.

Etherisc

 

Service that uses smart contracts on a blockchain to provide fully automated, decentralised flight delay insurance.

Fineqia

 

Blockchain based digital platform that enables companies to issue and administer debt and equity securities, including bonds backed by cryptoassets.

Fractal

 

Insights platform using distributed ledger and artificial intelligence technology to power SME financing by digitising credit applications and connecting loan issuances to the underlying financial data.

Globacap

 

Capital raising platform for SMEs and institutional investors which facilitates the issuance process of debt and equity securities. Globacap use DLT to simplify and streamline the issuance process.

Hub85

 

Fully-automated governance solution that enables financial institutions to monitor and understand how spreadsheets are used for regulated activities. The software monitors and enforces compliance rules, identifies structural file errors and quantifies enterprise risks. Analytics captured can be used to identify and expedite the automation of operational tasks.

London Media Exchange

 

Platform that facilitates the buying and selling of contracts for digital advertising space. In the short term this will improve transparency for market participants, and in the long term will lead to the development of derivatives.

Meet Mia

 

Chatbot on Facebook Messenger that allows customers to buy and manage travel insurance. Policies are written in plain English and customers can ‘ask’ the chatbot what they are covered for. Group discounts and automated claims handling will also be available.

Mettle

Current account which helps small business owners make decisions, with forward looking finances, smart invoices and easy receipts.

Mortgage Kart

 

Automated-advice offering to help customers pick the most suitable mortgage given their needs and circumstances.

Multiply

 

Service that combines financial modelling and machine learning to provide holistic financial plans with specific product recommendations directly to consumers.

Natwest

 

Governance model based on DLT that enables organisations to work collaboratively on developing and running decentralised applications. The model  codifies society rules in smart contracts on a blockchain creating a digital mutual. NatWest will open source the code after successful testing.

NorthRow

 Service that enhances KYC, client onboarding and monitoring processes using account data to support identity verification and financial suitability.

Salary Finance

 

Payroll linked lending platform which provides consumers with access to their earned income by the day or week. By enabling employees to access their earned income more frequently, they will be better able to manage their budget, address unexpected needs or avoid ‘late payment fees’ of existing commitments.

TokenMarket

 

Funding platform that uses DLT to facilitate the issuance of shares in private companies more efficiently.

Tokencard

 

Service that connects a centralised payment card to a decentralised blockchain. Consumers hold their own assets in a decentralised Smart Contract wallet and top up their card through simple exchange.

Universal Tokens

 

Service that leverages blockchain technology in the distribution of insurance products to increase trust and improve user experience.

Veridu Labs

Privacy-driven KYC and AML solution backed by machine learning and network analyses to facilitate onboarding and access to business banking.

World Reserve Trust

 

Service that facilitates cheaper and faster global trade payments and settlement using the Sīlùbì, an asset-linked smart token that utilises a permissioned DLT network.

Zippen

Service that enables individuals to transfer and consolidate (hence ‘zip’) their pensions (‘zip-pen’) all in one place, delivering convenience, financial advantage or both.

1825 (part of the Standard Life group)

Automated advice proposition for consumers that are close to retirement. Plans are generated by an automated advice engine that considers how to meet the needs and aspirations of consumers using their available liquid and illiquid assets.

20|30

DLT-based platform that allows companies to raise capital in a more efficient and streamlined way. The test will be facilitated in conjunction with London Stock Exchange Group and Nivaura.

Application window for sandbox cohort 5

The application window for cohort 5 of the regulatory sandbox will open later this year.

Notes to editors:

  1. On 1 April 2013, the FCA became responsible for the conduct supervision of all regulated financial firms and the prudential supervision of those not supervised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).
  2. The FCA has an overarching strategic objective of ensuring the relevant markets function well. To support this, it has three operational objectives: to secure an appropriate degree of protection for consumers; to protect and enhance the integrity of the UK financial system; and to promote effective competition in the interests of consumers.
  3. Find out more about the Regulatory Sandbox, Direct Support and the Advice Unit.
  4. Regulatory Sandbox Lessons Learned Report.
  5. Find out more information about the FCA.