On 17 April 2023, the FCA published a speech by Jessica Rusu, FCA Chief Data, Information and Intelligence Officer, at the Innovate Finance Global Summit. The speech focused on innovation, artificial intelligence (AI) and the future of financial regulation.

Ms Rusu begins by noting that, in the past 2 years, the FCA has completely refreshed its Innovation programme, doubling the volume of TechSprints, introducing PolicySprints – such as the Crypto and Open Finance PolicySprints – as well as launching a completely new Innovation Pathways service. These initiatives combine collaboration, technical expertise, diversity of participants, and innovative methods – such as synthetic data – to answer technical policy questions quickly. Ms Rusu goes on to announce that the ground-breaking use of synthetic data in the identification of methods to detect automated push payment (APP) fraud resulted in 40% of SME participants either launching their product, securing partnerships or funding, and several SMEs were nominated for industry awards.

Looking ahead, Ms Rusu announced the creation of a permanent Digital Sandbox service, which will include a wide range of data, an Open ‘API marketplace’ giving access to other fintech datasets, a solutions development, prototyping and test environment, and direct access to academics, government bodies, venture capitalists and charities. From summer 2023, the FCA’s Digital Sandbox will expand to support a broader range of innovators and will be available even for applicants outside of, or after, specific TechSprint activities.

Ms Rusu also noted that the FCA will be hosting a world first global TechSprint with its GFIN partners, in support of tackling greenwashing. On 17 April 2023, the FCA is officially open for applications for the GFIN Greenwashing TechSprint, which will be a 3 month long global event bringing together technology experts, firms and an international group of regulators, to address issues related to greenwashing.

The FCA is also currently collaborating with the Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum and working through what the appropriate framework for AI in financial services could look like, considering feedback received from the AI Discussion Paper, the machine learning survey, and the FCA’s extensive engagement in the AI public private forum, conducted jointly with the Bank of England.