Financial Conduct Authority’s regulatory sandbox opens to applications

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), today opened its regulatory sandbox to firms. The sandbox is a ‘safe space’ in which businesses can test innovative products, services, business models and delivery mechanisms while ensuring that consumers are appropriately protected. The regulatory sandbox is part of Project Innovate, an initiative kicked off in October 2014, to help us encourage innovation in the interests of consumers and promote competition through disruptive innovation.

The sandbox will offer a range of options for eligible firms: a tailored authorisation process (restricted authorisation) for new firms in the testing phase; individual guidance for firms testing ideas that do not easily fit into the existing regulatory framework and in some cases waivers or no enforcement action letters. More detail on the eligibility criteria and the sandbox options.

Tracey McDermott, Acting Chief Executive at the FCA said:

'Supporting innovation is an essential part of our role in promoting competition in the interests of consumers.

'Our aspiration is that the sandbox not only enables innovative ideas to be tested and brought to market, but also helps to reduce the time and the cost of getting them there.'

Firms have until 8 July 2016 to apply to be in the first cohort of the sandbox.

Notes to editors

  1. Find out more about the sandbox.
  2. Christopher Woolard's speech at the Innovate Finance Global Summit.
  3. On 1 April 2013 the Financial Conduct Authority (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)
  4. 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
  5. Find out more information about the FCA