The Consultation was chaired by Innovate Finance, the UK’s membership association for global FinTech, on invitation by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The Industry Sandbox Consultation Report identified use cases and design requirements for a successful sandbox development environment that could enable FinTech players to validate innovations as well as to partner in developing new solutions in a neutral ‘off-line’ environment before accessing the market.
The global Consultation brought together over 200 representatives from financial institutions, large technology firms, data vendors and startups to identify where and how an Industry Sandbox can add value. The report features comments from 30 leading FinTech organisations and thinkers.
The Consultation found there was a demand for an Industry Sandbox in the following areas:
- Helping to show how new financial products would work
- Making it easier for Industry to resolve shared problems together
- Supporting knowledge sharing with regulators early in product life cycles
The report offers a menu of Industry Sandbox components that can be mixed and matched according to each use case.
In every case, an open, collaborative and accessible approach to innovation was viewed as key to success, along with a simple and flexible implementation model that lowers barriers to participation as much as possible and allows an initial version of an Industry Sandbox to scale.
Industry Sandboxes could provide access to data, APIs (application programming interfaces), common technical requirements and other technologies to help build and test financial products. Users should be able to certify against industry standards and best practices to give their potential clients more comfort. A sandbox governance structure could also make collaboration on common industry challenges such as passporting Know-Your-Customer checks or adopting RegTech less complicated
Commenting on the report, Lawrence Wintermeyer, Consultation chair, said: “The findings collate all the feedback from the consultation process and conclude that a successful Industry Sandbox must be open to an entire ecosystem on a voluntary participation basis, connected to shared testing environments and accessible to all key players, from startups to big banks.”
Rachel Kent, Partner, Global Financial Institutions Sector at Hogan Lovells and member of the report’s Steering Committee, said: “One of the key findings is that Industry Sandboxes can provide a way to speed up regulatory efficiency in the FinTech ecosystem. The consultation shows there is clear demand from the industry for regulators to be involved with such sandboxes, where they engage as observers, so that industry can share knowledge early in the life cycle of solution development. With regulators taking an educational role, sandbox participants learn who they are, what their role is and how best to engage with them. This is seen as a good way to do a lot fast.”
FinTech startups, financial institutions, technology and data vendors, professional services firms, and venture capital funds can all be users, contributors and / or sponsors of an Industry Sandbox. Regulators and other public bodies could engage as observers.
The Consultation team anticipates the global financial services industry will consider the findings of the report when building their own industry sandbox.
Industry Sandboxes must work together to develop solutions to support an open innovation environment and deliver better products to consumers.
The full report can be downloaded here