The Financial Conduct Authority has opened its sandbox to new financial applications capable of tackling challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Three key areas - preventing fraud and scams, supporting the financial resilience of vulnerable consumers, and improving access to finance for small and medium sized enterprises - have been identified as particular areas of importance for the FCA.
The regulatory sandbox will operate in the same way as previous cohorts, allowing businesses to test innovative propositions in the market, with real consumers.
At the same time, the watchdog has teamed with the Citiy of London Corporation to begin pilots of a new 'Digital Sandbox' that will support earlier stage innovation where products are still in development but not yet ready to be tested with consumers or 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.
FCA director of innovation Nick Cook says: ‘Today we are strengthening the range and scale of support we are providing to innovative firms to deal with the challenges raised by the pandemic.
"Together, these services will allow us to support a wider spectrum of innovative firms, from early stage Proof of Concept development in the Digital Sandbox, to testing new products or services with consumers in the Regulatory Sandbox."