Jessica Rusu, chief data, information and intelligence officer, FCA took to the stage at Innovate Finance Global Summit, held at the Guildhall in London, to discuss the role of regulation in protecting both the public and the industry's infrastructure.
Rusu revealed that for the first time in the UK, the FCA are establishing a permanent digital sandbox, which combines synthetic data, transaction data and market data from across the payments, banking, investment and fintech industry - all in all collating over 200 datasets. In addition to this, the sandbox will pull data from consumers and companies to enable an open API marketplace, providing access to academics, government bodies, VCs and charities.
She added that "from this summer, the FCA digital sandbox will expand to support a broader range of investors. [...] The FCA benefits from supporting this innovation by promoting solutions to complex regulatory challenges like APP fraud, greenwashing and scam detection. One of the primary reasons we invest in tech and innovation is to provide better support and to regulate. The FCA digital transformation programmes are centred on driving efficiencies and reducing the regulatory burden for firms."
The digital sandbox is a highly competitive programme, with a rigorous selection process that evaluates companies based on their potential to make a significant impact in the financial services industry.
NayaOne will work closely with the FCA and other industry leaders to drive innovation and create new opportunities in financial services. This is a significant milestone for NayaOne as the digital transformation platform continues to deliver cutting-edge solutions that enable financial institutions to stay ahead of the curve.
NayaOne CEO Karan Jain added: "We are thrilled to have been selected for this prestigious opportunity to collaborate with the FCA on driving innovation in financial services. We believe that our digital transformation platform and synthetic data technology will be a valuable asset in helping fintech companies to develop and test their products more efficiently and effectively. “We look forward to developing the relationship with the FCA and being part of any future focus areas, they have, for development within the industry."
During her keynote speech at IFGS 2023, Rusu explored what else the FCA are planning to push forward with this year from a technology perspective, and they are certainly not resting on their laurels. Referencing the APP Fraud Tech Sprint that was announced at IFGS 2022, she revealed that the FCA has doubled the volume of sprints since then, across a number of problem statements such as the cost of living and sustainability.
Alongside this, in an attempt to reduce the regulatory burden, Rusu announced a new initiative: Digital Front Door, which digitises their forms and simplifies data processing. Further the sandbox and Innovation Pathways application forms have also been streamlined.
Also, working with the 23 regulators and 80 organisations that are part of the Global Financial Innovation Network, a Global Tech Sprint has been launched where companies can apply to tackle global challenges with global solutions across ESG, AI and cryptocurrency.
Finally, the FCA are continuing to progress work on AI and Rusu said that the regulator has "carried out extensive work to understand AI and consider its regulatory implications, as continued chaos is quite justified." While the UK government's recently published AI white paper includes feedback from the industry outlining an approach, collaboration with different forums is needed to establish what the appropriate framework for AI in financial services will look like.
Rusu added: "In many ways, AI sits at the core of innovation and underpins many new and transformative business models. The opportunities for AI are enormous, particularly when combined with quantum computing. But the race does require careful consideration. [...] The use of synthetic data and other privacy enhancing technologies provides a useful way to perform data mining, and build advanced models whilst protecting sensitive information."
She concluded: "Now more than ever firms need regulators to embrace innovation and lead. Yes, the data, technology and innovation teams are playing a vital role in keeping our dynamic financial service industry safe and adapted to the future of finance, ensuring the UK maintains its position as a preeminent financial centre, increasing international competitiveness and growth is about creating the right conditions for firms to innovate and invest, leading to a productiv, open economy that can compete with other economies for growth and opportunities."