Last month, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) released their new guidelines for firms outsourcing to cloud services and third-party providers, following up the launch of their Regulatory Sandbox in a series of moves that demonstrate the FCA is taking the initiative in the new digital landscape.
Part of FCA’s Project Innovate, the introduction of the sandbox environment could help banks and FinTechs bypass the threats to innovation that many feel have hampered their progression.
Traditionally, when banks and FinTech providers looked to develop new solutions, they were hindered by the traditional ‘three lines of defence’ approach to demonstrate and structure roles, responsibilities and accountabilities for decision making, but for opposite reasons. For banks, the development was hindered by regulatory rules; for FinTechs, there was a lack of guidance around the regulations to make fully informed decisions.
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The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is moving with the digital times by playing a key role in creating a regulatory environment for fintech to thrive. As part of the FCA's Project Innovate - an initiative introduced in late 2014 to promote competition through disruptive innovation - the FCA recently introduced the regulatory sandbox to offer new entrants to the market a chance to test their products in a safe environment.
The introduction of FCA’s Project Innovate is a welcome addition to a fast-growing and highly valuable sector within the UK’s technology industry. The development of FinTech is still in its infancy, negotiating a relatively unknown landscape, and there will inevitably be problems along the way in this process of trial and error. By providing a dedicated, enclosed sandbox platform for banks and software developers to explore new solutions, it should hopefully speed up their development, and the FCA deserves huge credit for taking the initiative to launch the sandbox.
It is still early days, but we’re looking forward to what new approaches to FinTech will emerge from this new digital-friendly landscape.
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