Regulators in 11 countries suddenly announce a global FinTech sandbox

EXCLUSIVE: Coin Rivet speaks to FCA Sandbox team who say the multinational testing space is in its consultation phase, but its very existence could be highly significant

Eleven financial regulators from around the world, including the UK, US, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, France and Singapore, have announced an alliance to set up a FinTech sandbox.

The UK Financial Conduct Authority unveiled plans for the so-called Global Financial Innovation Centre (GFIN) for companies to put to the test new products in several countries simultaneously.

Consultation Phase

For now, however, the global sandbox is in what can be considered to be the consultation phase.

“The FCA and all the other regulatory bodies will be receiving responses from all interested parties around the world on how they believe it should work and any other feedback,” says FCA Sandbox team member Francesca Clausen in an exclusive interview with Coin Rivet.

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“The consultation phase will go on until 14th October. We will receive responses until that date, and then the responses will be reviewed.

“At this point, we have no idea how long the review of responses will take, and there is no set date for the sandbox to become operational.”

When asked if the sandbox will actually ever be activated, Clausen replies: “No idea. We’re still at the very early stages.”

The Global Sandbox

As with all regulatory sandboxes, the GFIN will also make it easier for companies to test their innovative products with a temporary authorisation. This reduces the time and cost of getting their products to the markets. It also makes it easier for newer companies to raise funding within a regulatory framework.

The global sandbox has been in the works since February of this year, although the UK already has a sandbox in place since June 2016.

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“The network will seek 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,” says the FCA in a statement.

“It will also create a new framework for co-operation between financial services regulators on innovation-related topics, sharing different experiences and approaches.”

Main functions

According to the FCA, the global sandbox will have three primary functions: “act as a network of regulators to collaborate and share experience of innovation in respective markets, including emerging technologies and business models; provide a forum for joint policy work and discussions; and provide firms with an environment in which to trial cross-border solutions.”

The mission statement of the new testing grounds says the “GFIN is designed to be an inclusive community of financial services regulators and related organisations”.

It adds that the “eventual membership of the GFIN that take this project forward is still to be determined”.

All FinTech firms from anywhere in the world are encouraged to participate in the consultation phase by replying through FCA’s reply form.

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