On 5 October 2020, the FCA announced that it had opened the application windows for cohort 7 of the Regulatory Sandbox and the pilot of a new Digital Sandbox initiative, with an emphasis on supporting products and solutions that will assist consumers and firms affected by the pandemic.

The FCA is collaborating with The City of London Corporation to pilot a ‘digital sandbox’. The following features are being piloted as the foundations of the digital sandbox:

  • Access to synthetic data assets to enable testing, training and validation of prototype technology solutions, for example transactional banking data sets, SME lending data and customer accounts.
  • An Application programming interface (API) market place where digital service providers list and provide access to services via APIs
  • Integrated development environment in which applicants can develop and test their solution
  • A collaboration platform – to facilitate an ecosystem of key organisations that will provide support and input to digital sandbox participants, such as incumbents, academia, government bodies, venture capital, and charities.
  • An observation deck – to enable regulators and other interested parties to observe in-flight testing at a technical level, to inform policy thinking in a safeguarded environment.

Applications for cohort 7 of the Regulatory Sandbox are now open until 31 December 2020. Applications for the digital sandbox are open from now until 30 October 2020.