FCA assists innovative companies to tackle Covid-19 challenges

08 October 2020

The FCA is supporting innovative firms to tackle challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic through two ‘sandbox’ services.

Application windows for Cohort 7 of the Regulatory Sandbox and the pilot of a new Digital Sandbox initiative have opened yesterday (5th October), with an emphasis on supporting products and solutions that will assist consumers and firms affected by the pandemic.

Cohort 7 of the Regulatory Sandbox will operate in the same way as previous cohorts, allowing businesses to test innovative propositions in the market, with real consumers.

It is open to authorised and unauthorised firms, as well as technology businesses that are looking to deliver innovation in the UK financial services market.

The Digital Sandbox pilot — launched with the City of London Corporation — aims to support earlier stage innovation, where products and solutions are still in development.

It will also assess the associated benefits for regulators and incumbent firms. The lessons learned from the pilot will inform efforts to establish an ongoing Digital Sandbox.

Nick Cook, director of innovation at the FCA, said: “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.”