FCA to launch Digital Sandbox to help boost business innovation

Effective from the 1st August, businesses will be able to use the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)'s Digital Sandbox to test new digital solutions

Two pilots, as well as a number of sprints, were previously ran for the Digital Sandbox, with the FCA supporting selected SMEs in launching new products, securing funding and partnerships.

With the sandbox environment becoming permanently operational, businesses in financial services and beyond will be able to access an extensive library of datasets and application programming interfaces (APIs), for the purpose of testing and validating solutions.

Over 200 synthetic, public or anonymised datasets, as well as upwards of 1,000 APIs will be made available to firms wanting to test solutions for capability and regulatory compliance.

Additionally, participants can keep data assets protected by making use of the sandbox’s integrated development environment.

FCA examining big tech disruption of financial servicesHow the FCA is looking to assess the involvement of big tech in financial markets.

According to Dr Henry Balani, global head of industry and regulatory affairs at Encompass Corporation, “the Digital Sandbox from the FCA represents a positive step when it comes to supporting innovation, and particularly for regtech providers striving to deliver technology solutions that can bring significant business benefits.

“Crucially, this approach positively supports the development and testing of financial products in a safe, robust and non-market disruptive manner, where lessons can be learned.

“Regtech has an increasingly important role to play, with financial institutions looking to balance responding to an evolving and stringent regulatory landscape with maximising operations, which means facilitating the development of solutions that can support these institutions is vital. “

How RegTech helps financial services providers overcome regulation challengesHugo Larguinho Bras, partner at e*finance Consulting Reply, spoke to Information Age about how RegTech capabilities can aid Asset Management and Asset Servicing companies in navigating new regulations.

Assessments and focuses

Assessments will be made by the UK financial services regulator on whether innovation is in scope; is genuinely aiming to fill a gap in the market; readiness; support needs; and possible customer benefits.

Regulators, incumbents and other interested parties, meanwhile, will have a virtual observation deck at their disposal, allowing them to keep tabs on in-flight testing at a technical level.

The following focus themes have been announced by the FCA, which applicants can choose from:

  • banking
  • insurance
  • investment
  • lending
  • payments 
  • pension
  • wholesale buy-side
  • wholesale sell-side
  • cross-sectors

Businesses looking to apply for participation in the FCA Digital Sandbox can do so from the 1st August, here.


Why compliance jobs are a growth area to know aboutIn this article, we explore the compliance state of play in the UK’s fintech space, and the companies currently hiring tech talent.

Avatar photo

Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.