On the 4th of May 2020 the FCA announced that it intends to pilot a ‘digital sandbox’ in order to enhance regulatory support to innovative firms, such as fintech and regtech businesses, tackling challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The FCA has previously supported new and innovative firms through regulatory platforms such as  its Innovation Hub, Regulatory Sandbox and TechSprint programme and has accelerated plans to launch the digital sandbox in the wake of the issues caused by COVID-19.

The new digital version of the sandbox will enable firms to test and develop proofs of concept in a digital testing environment. Long-standing challenges like data access and standardisation have become an increasing barrier to entry for innovators and the digital sandbox aims to cater for firms which have not previously met the testing requirements of the regulatory sandbox.

The FCA’s initial focus is on supporting innovative firms looking to tackle coronavirus-related challenges and will evaluate the effectiveness of the digital sandbox’s tools and features through the pilot phase. This is important because many regulated firms such as banks and insurance companies are accelerating the digitalisation of their customer base and may partner with newer start-up channels.  The FCA will be seeking industry feedback to develop the sandbox and will be updating its page with specific proposals in due course. Interested firms should accordingly engage and feedback comments on the proposals to the FCA, and keep watch on the FCA’s innovation page.

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Photo of Kirsten E. Lapham Kirsten E. Lapham

Kirsten Lapham is a partner specialising in financial services regulation. She advises a broad range of institutional clients on a variety of financial services regulatory and compliance issues. Her practice has a specific emphasis on the regulatory issues impacting asset managers arising under…

Kirsten Lapham is a partner specialising in financial services regulation. She advises a broad range of institutional clients on a variety of financial services regulatory and compliance issues. Her practice has a specific emphasis on the regulatory issues impacting asset managers arising under the AIFMD, and MiFID for a range of EU and indirectly impacted firms outside of the EU.

Kirsten has experience advising multiple clients on the EU marketing and registration regimes and overlaying local regulatory considerations, such as the U.K. retail distribution review and Financial Promotion regime. She has also worked on MIFID II, SFDR and the Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SMCR) implementation projects for firms subject to regulatory developments. Kirsten routinely advises on the regulatory issues that impact M&A transactions. She has represented some of the largest and most well-known alternative investment managers, including: TPG; PIMCO; Citi Private Bank; AnaCap Financial Partners, UBS, Pathway Capital LLC; and a number of US and UK boutiques among many others.

Kirsten is co-chair of Proskauer’s global ‘ESG Taskforce’ and as an expert in the sustainable financing space, regularly speaks at industry events and is quoted on these issues. In addition, She has assisted numerous firms on ESG driven projects including the drafting of ESG policies, and internal restructurings, capturing diversity and inclusion, modern slavery and broader internal issues related to responsible investing. Kirsten works closely with clients on best approach for disclosure to both investors and regulators, on the integration of ESG practices in investment processes.

Photo of John Verwey John Verwey

John Verwey is a partner in the Corporate Department and a member of the Private Funds Group.

John advises on a wide number of regulatory issues at a national UK and European level, including firm authorisations, change in control, market abuse, Electronic Money…

John Verwey is a partner in the Corporate Department and a member of the Private Funds Group.

John advises on a wide number of regulatory issues at a national UK and European level, including firm authorisations, change in control, market abuse, Electronic Money Regulations, Payment Services Regulations and client money rules. He represents a variety of clients that range from private equity firms and insurance intermediaries to global investment banks and sovereign wealth funds.

Photo of Andrew Wingfield Andrew Wingfield

Andrew Wingfield is a partner in the Corporate Department and a member of our Private Equity Mergers & Acquisitions Group. As businesses globally are impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Andrew is a member of the firm’s Coronavirus Response Team helping clients respond…

Andrew Wingfield is a partner in the Corporate Department and a member of our Private Equity Mergers & Acquisitions Group. As businesses globally are impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Andrew is a member of the firm’s Coronavirus Response Team helping clients respond and solve issues across myriad fronts.

Andrew undertakes a broad range of domestic and cross-border corporate and commercial work for both corporate and private equity clients, advising on acquisitions and disposals, joint ventures, mergers and public takeovers, flotations and equity capital markets and private equity investment.

He is called upon by financial institutions, private equity houses, management and corporates to lead on complex and high-value transactions. Andrew has a very strong financial institutions practice and is recognized by Chambers UK and Legal 500 as the “go to regulatory M&A lawyer” for regulated institutions such as banks, lenders, payment providers, insurance companies, wealth managers or other financial institutions transactions.

In addition, Andrew is recognized as a leading individual in the corporate/M&A: upper mid-market and premium deals category in The Legal 500 and clients note he is “pragmatic and knowledgeable.” In Chambers UK, Andrew is noted as “dynamic and commercial” and for providing “tailored, practical advice,” and is recognized in the corporate/M&A: mid-market category.

Photo of Amar Unadkat Amar Unadkat

Amar Unadkat is a special regulatory counsel in the Corporate Department and a member of the Private Funds Group.

Amar advises on a variety of financial services regulatory and compliance matters both from a UK and European perspective. Amar regularly advises his clients…

Amar Unadkat is a special regulatory counsel in the Corporate Department and a member of the Private Funds Group.

Amar advises on a variety of financial services regulatory and compliance matters both from a UK and European perspective. Amar regularly advises his clients on issues relating to the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (“AIFMD”), the second Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (“MiFID II”), as well as the latest ESG developments. Amar also focusses on UK regulatory compliance matters, including the FCA’s change of control regime, the appointed representative regime and the Senior Managers & Certification Regime.

Amar’s clients include private equity firms, investment managers and advisers, firms in the FinTech space, wealth management businesses, banks and sovereign wealth funds.