Financial Conduct Authority launches ‘world first’ fintech accelerator

Sandbox will give unregulated fintech firms the chance to test new ideas without being penalised

UK start-ups looking to disrupt the financial sector are being called upon to apply for the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) new financial technology (fintech) accelerator.

The regulatory ‘sandbox’ will enable young fintech businesses that aren’t yet regulated to test and trial innovative new technology, services and business models without incurring penalties from the regulator.

The first cohort will be relatively small, as they will require an intensive amount of time an attention from the FCA, but a second cohort will be accepted between mid-November and mid-January.

Tracey McDermott, the FCA’s acting chief, said of the news:

“Supporting innovation is an essential part of our role in promoting competition in the interests of consumers.

“Our aspiration is that the sandbox not only enables innovative ideas to be tested and brought to market, but also helps to reduce the time and the cost of getting them there.”

FCA director of strategy and competition, Christopher Woolard, has said that “this is a bold and complex project for any regulator to undertake. As well as significant potential benefits, it comes with risks. In many ways, it won’t just be the firms that are learning in the sandbox, we will be too.”

Apply for the sandbox programme here. Applications close on 8 July.

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