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Global sandbox accepts first eight firms

Global sandbox accepts first eight firms

The Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN), a cross-border regulatory sandbox for firms testing innovative financial products, services or business models across multiple jurisdictions, has selected the first eight firms to participate in the programme.

Chaired by the UK's Financial Conduct Authority, the GFIN comprises 29 regulatory bodies from across the world. In January it put out a call for applications from banks and fintech companies interested in the fast-track opportunities for authorisation implicit in the initiative.

From a total of 44 applicants, the GFIN has selected eight firms for an initial cross-border trial of the service. These include Onfido, Tradle, Ascent RegTech Starling Trust, Alphapoint, Coinvestion, DACX and Atlant.

Speaking at the Innovate Finance Global Summit, Christopher Woolard, executive director of strategy and competition at the FCA says: "These are propositions that are not just tinkering around the edges of the status quo, but have the potential to fundamentally change how things are done. Propositions that are taking on known cross-border issues, like trade and consumer access, and offer the possibility of real gains for society.

"These are issues that cannot be solved in isolation, one market at a time. Truly global challenges require a global response and GFIN lets us test whether this can become reality."

Woolard says that since since starting its innovation porgramme five years ago, the watchdog has received 1600 applications for support and directly helped out nearly 700 firms to speed up their go-to-market strategies.

"As we said from the start, we want to see innovation at scale - the number of major firms using our Innovate services is increasing, for example to launch mass-market robo advice," he says. "We have seen significant numbers of partnerships between incumbents and fintechs. And we have seen the entry of smaller firms prompt larger players to introduce their own innovative services, for example in insurance. Collectively, compared to five years ago, millions of consumers have a range of more efficient, better value or more convenient services available to them."

The evaluation report comes as the FCA unveils its fifth and biggest sandbox cohort to date, comprising 29 firms with propositions across a range of hot-button innovation areas, including digital identity, tokenisation of financial assets and financial inclusion.

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