Innovative firms that tackle challenges caused by Covid-19 can now apply for two sandbox services launched by the City regulator.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has opened applications for Cohort 7 of the regulatory sandbox and the pilot of a new digital sandbox initiative to support these innovative businesses to create products and solutions that will assist consumers and firms affected by the pandemic.
The regulator is particularly focused on firms that can help prevent fraud and scams, support the financial resilience of vulnerable consumers, or improve access to finance for small- and medium-sized enterprises.
Cohort 7 of the regulatory sandbox, which is open to both authorised and unauthorised firms as well as technology businesses that are looking to deliver innovation in the financial services market, will allow businesses to test innovative propositions in the market.
Meanwhile, the digital sandbox pilot, which launched with the City of London Corporation in July and is now open for applications, 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.
The lessons learned from the pilot will inform efforts to establish an ongoing digital sandbox.
“The FCA is a strong believer in the positive power of innovation,” said Nick Cook, director of innovation at the FCA.
“Today we are strengthening the range and scale of support we are providing to innovative firms to deal with the challenges raised by the pandemic.
“Together, these services will allow us to support a wider spectrum of innovative firms, from early stage proof of concept development in the digital sandbox, to testing new products or services with consumers in the regulatory sandbox.
“As a regulator we recognise the need to continually experiment and learn in order to stimulate innovation.
“We are excited to launch this new service and by the lessons it will provide for future iterations of the initiative.”