Publication Date:  November 2015

This paper marks an important milestone for the FCA: one year since the Innovation Hub opened for business.

Project Innovate was developed by the FCA to foster competition and growth in financial services by supporting both small and large businesses that are developing products and services that could genuinely improve consumers’ experience and outcomes. We are proud of our achievements. Among other things, in our first year we have:

  • helped over 175 innovative businesses; 5 new businesses have now been authorised
  • introduced ‘informal steers’ that have enabled us to be more direct with firms
  • worked with the Government on its plans to introduce regulation for digital currencies
  • provided support to innovators by making clear our view on disproportionate de-risking that denies businesses access to banking facilities
  • published a Call for Input on barriers to innovation in digital and mobile solutions
  • hosted a forum to discuss ‘robo-advice’, and
  • launched our plans for broadening and strengthening Project Innovate

This paper is a report to Her Majesty’s Treasury on the feasibility and practicalities of developing a regulatory sandbox that is a ‘safe space’ in which businesses can test innovative products, services, business models and delivery mechanisms without immediately incurring all the normal regulatory consequences of engaging in the activity in question. We believe there is opportunity to expand Project Innovate and introduce a regulatory sandbox. In this report, we set out our plans for implementing the sandbox and proposals for how we can work with industry and the Government to further support businesses.

We are hosting an event in December to discuss the FCA’s plans for implementing the sandbox and to start a conversation about our proposals for working with industry. So, we would encourage innovative businesses, trade bodies, accelerators, consumer groups and other stakeholders keen on being part of the development of a sandbox to get involved and participate in our event.

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