"I’m pleased that the majority of firms that have tested products in the sandbox have gone on to take their innovation to market."
The FCA has published a report outlining the progess and outcomes in year one of its Regulatory Sandbox.
The sandbox enables firms to test innovative products, services or business models in a live user environment, while ensuring that appropriate protections are in place.
Since its launch in June 2016, the FCA has received 146 sandbox applications. Of these, 50 were accepted and 41 progressed to testing which has been run in two cohorts.
The FCA's report found that the Sandbox has succeeded in reducing the time and cost for firms of getting innovative ideas to market.
Around 90% of firms that completed testing in the first cohort have progressed towards a wider market launch and at least 40% received investment either during or following their sandbox tests.
Firms have used sandbox tests to assess commercial viability and how receptive consumers are to pricing strategies, communication channels, business models and the technologies themselves.
The report also highlights some of the challenges faced by firms in conducting their tests within the sandbox. These include accessing banking services and smaller firms struggling to acquire customers to take part in their tests.
Christopher Woolard, Executive Director of Strategy and Competition at the FCA, said: “The FCA’s Regulatory Sandbox has been a first for regulators worldwide and we are pleased it has met a genuine demand from innovators.
“We have seen tests across the full range of sectors that we regulate and I’m pleased that the majority of firms that have tested products in the sandbox have gone on to take their innovation to market.
“It is important that we continue to evaluate the success of our interventions so that we can identify areas where improvements can be made to help both firms testing and ultimately the consumers they are serving.”