The FCA’s Digital Sandbox will be made permanently available from 1 August 2023 and will be open to a broad range of innovative businesses, start-ups and data providers.  The digital sandbox was previously only available temporarily to those participating in pilots and TechSprints.

The Digital Sandbox aims to support firms in the early stages of their product development by enabling experimentation through proof of concepts.  The FCA also welcomes data providers applying to list their data on the platform and gain traffic and insights on its usage.  

The Digital Sandbox forms part of the FCA’s delivery of its new secondary objective to support economic growth and international competitiveness.  It notes that more than half of the previous SME participants made positive developments including launching new products, securing funding and partnerships, or receiving industry awards. 

Participants in the Digital Sandbox will have permanent access to: 

  • high-quality datasets and APIs (over 200 synthetic, public or anonymised data sets and over 1000 APIs to enable testing and validation of technology solutions, covering payments and transactions data, social media data, investment, Companies House and credit data);
  • robust data security protection; 
  • a collaborative platform to facilitate diversity of thought, share learnings and foster an ecosystem between teams, observers and mentors; and
  • an observation deck to enable interested parties such as regulators, incumbents and others to observe in-flight testing at a technical level. 

Applicants can apply under any of the following themes: 

  • banking;
  • investment;
  • lending;
  • payments;
  • insurance;
  • pension;
  • wholesale buy-side;
  • wholesale sell-side; and
  • cross-sectors.

It is suggested that the approval process will take a maximum of 4 weeks.  Interested firms can find more information here.