Comparing the Industry and Regulatory Sandbox

In distinction to the Industry Sandbox, the already operational FCA Regulatory Sandbox seeks to enable the testing of innovative products in an on-market environment. To understand the differences between both sandbox initiatives, view the comparative summary table below.

Industry Regulatory
The Industry Sandbox aims to create a space for FinTechs and industry players to collaborate on new products and proof of concepts in an “off-market” environment without consumers. There are no regulatory implications from testing off-market, so creating a bespoke regulatory framework is not necessary. The sandbox environment can be used to simulate consumer behaviour to test and trial applications to a functional acceptance level desired by the organisation using the sandbox. The Regulatory Sandbox creates a safe space where a FinTech and a limited number of real consumers can engage in an “on-market” trial. Some of the regulatory requirements can be amended to create a bespoke framework for the duration of the trial where the normal regulatory consequences do not apply.
Access to the Industry Sandbox will be tiered and the eligibility criteria is currently under consultation. It is envisioned that there will be wider access to the Industry Sandbox than the Regulatory Sandbox. Firms wishing to test in the Regulatory Sandbox must meet the FCA’s eligibility criteria. In addition, unauthorised firms wishing to test must gain authorisation or be registered with the FCA. Firms must also meet the FCA’s Threshold Conditions in order to be authorised. Firms may also choose to partner with an existing authorised firm for the purpose of a test.
The Industry Sandbox aspires to be a fit-for-purpose environment for a diverse set of stakeholders. That is why The Industry Sandbox Consultation has been focused on collecting industry views before proposing new or existing models or solutions.
The FCA will not provide a “stamp of approval” or a similar type of endorsement for a particular application, product or business model tested in the Regulatory or Industry Sandboxes. The FCA’s engagement with the Industry Sandbox is under consultation.