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    FCA Opens Applications for Regulatory and Digital Sandbox Initiatives

    October 06, 2020

    FCA published final rules banning the sale of derivatives and exchange-traded notes that reference certain types of crypto-assets to retail consumers. The ban will come into effect on January 06, 2021, with FCA estimating that retail consumers will save nearly GBP 53 million from the ban on these products. Additionally, FCA opened application windows for Cohort 7 of the Regulatory Sandbox and for pilot of a new Digital Sandbox initiative to support innovative firms in tackling the challenges caused by COVID-19 pandemic.

    Three key areas have been identified as areas of importance for FCA: preventing fraud and scams, supporting the financial resilience of vulnerable consumers, and improving access to finance for small and medium-size enterprises. Cohort 7 of the Regulatory Sandbox is open to authorized and unauthorized firms as well as technology businesses that are looking to deliver innovation in the financial services market in UK. This will operate in the same way as previous cohorts, allowing businesses to test innovative propositions in the market, with real consumers. 

    Additionally, the Digital Sandbox pilot, which was launched with the City of London Corporation, aims to support earlier stage innovation wherein products and solutions are still in development and not at the stage where they are ready to be tested with consumers or are not in a live production environment. The pilot will evaluate the effect that offering certain assistance to innovative firms, such as access to synthetic data sets, has on enabling new ideas to get to market more quickly; it will also evaluate the associated benefits for regulators and incumbent firms. Lessons learned from this pilot will inform efforts to establish an ongoing Digital Sandbox.


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    Keywords: Europe, UK, Banking, Securities, Regulatory Sandbox, Digital Sandbox, COVID-19, Crypto Assets, Derivatives, Cohort 7, Regtech, Fintech, FCA

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