FCA plans global testing ground for fintech startups

The UK’s finance watchdog is set to meet with regulators from the US, Europe and Asia later this week to draw up plans to create a global fintech sandbox.

The Financial Conduct Authority launched its own sandbox in 2016, which provides a safe space for innovators in financial technology to test their ideas. But speaking at the Innovate Finance conference in London on Monday Christopher Woolard, executive director of strategy and competition at the FCA, said there had been demand to operate the scheme globally.

He added: “Now is the time to bring fellow regulators around the world into the conversations… Later this week we start work with interested regulators, including colleagues across Europe, the US and Far East, on a blueprint.”

Woolard called the creation of a sandbox that crosses borders a “truly momentous step forward in the UK’s fintech journey”.

The UK regulator has increasingly been collaborating with other international authorities on fintech. In February, it signed a pact with the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission to work together to support startups through their respect fintech initiatives, LabCFTC and Project Innovate. Woolard said that the FCA has now signed 10 cooperation agreements with eight different jurisdictions.

It also comes as the UK is looking for ways to hold onto its fintech crown as Brexit draws nearer. The industry has voiced concerns about access to talent and funding once the UK exits the European Union.

Read more here.