Financial Conduct Authority 

FCA reveals firms gaining robo-development help

FCA reveals firms gaining robo-development help

A semi-automated advice tool and a micro-savings app are among the projects which the Financial Conduct Authority has allowed into its “regulatory sandbox”.

They are among the 18 firms the FCA will be working with to test their products or services in a live environment.

The scheme is part of Project Innovate and aims to create a “safe space” where businesses can carry out tests on new products and services without facing the same regulatory risks, but with consumer protections in place.

Application to be part of the first cohort closed in July and 69 firms applied to work with the FCA.

Christopher Woolard, executive director of strategy and competition at the FCA, said: “The FCA’s regulatory sandbox was a first for regulators worldwide and underlines our deep commitment to innovation and our willingness to think outside the usual regulatory parameters.

“It has been an intense process for both firms and ourselves and we are grateful for their cooperation and hard work in getting us all to this position.

“We look forward to these businesses bringing new products and services to market whilst we ensure that appropriate consumer protection safeguards are in place.”

Among the services which will take part in the project is one from Citizens Advice, which is a semi-automated advice tool which allows debt advisers and clients to compare the key features of available debt solutions.

Another is Tradle, an app that creates personal or commercial identity and verifiable documents on a distributed ledger which will work in partnership with Aviva.

Also listed is Swave, a micro-savings app that provides an across-account view, a round-up service every time a user spends money and calculates an affordable savings amount based on the user’s spending behaviour.

Meanwhile HSBC and Lloyds are also taking part, with an app to help consumers manage their finances and an approach to improve the experiences of in-branch clients respectively.

Firm

Description

Billon

An e-money platform based on distributed ledger technology that facilitates the secure transfer and holding of funds using a phone based app.

BitX

A cross-border money transfer service powered by digital currencies / blockchain technology.

Blink Innovation Limited

An insurance product with an automated claims process, which allows travellers to instantly book a new ticket on their mobile device in the event of a flight cancellation.

Bud

An online platform and app which allows users to manage their financial products, with personalised insights, on a single dashboard. Bud's marketplace introduces relevant services which users can interact with through API integrations.

Citizens Advice

A semi-automated advice tool which allows debt advisers and clients to compare the key features of available debt solutions.

Epiphyte

A payments service provider that aims to provide cross-border payments using blockchain technology.

Govcoin Limited

A technology provider that has partnered with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to determine the feasibility of making emergency payments using means other than cash or the Faster Payments Scheme. The payments platform will use blockchain to allow the DWP to credit value to a mobile device to transfer the value directly to a third party.

HSBC

An app developed in partnership with Pariti Technologies, a FinTech start-up, to help customers better manage their finances.

Issufy

A web-based software platform that streamlines the overall Initial Public Offering (IPO) distribution process for investors, issuing companies and their advisors.

Lloyds Banking Group

An approach that aims to improve the experience for branch customers which is aligned with the online and over the phone experience.

Nextday Property Limited

An internet-based property company that will provide an interest free loan for a guaranteed amount to customers if they are unable to sell their property within 90 days.

Nivaura

A platform that uses automation and blockchain for issuance and lifecycle management of private placement securities.

Otonomos

A platform that represents private companies’ shares electronically on the blockchain, enabling them to manage shareholdings, conduct bookbuilding online and facilitate transfers.

Oval

An app which helps users to build up savings by putting aside small amounts of money. These savings can then be used to pay off existing loans early. Oval will be working with Oakam, a consumer credit firm, and a number of their customers during the test period.

SETL

A smart-card enabled retail payment system based on their OpenCSD distributed ledger.

Tradle

An app and web-based service that creates personal or commercial identity and verifiable documents on a distributed ledger. In partnership with Aviva they will provide a system for automated customer authentication.

Tramonex

An e-money platform based on distributed ledger technology that facilitates the use of “smart contracts” to transfer donations to a charity.

Swave

A micro savings app that provides an across-account view; enables a round-up service every time a user spends money and calculates an affordable savings amount based on the user’s spending behaviour.

Oval, an app which helps users build up savings by putting aside small amounts of money, will also be taking part.

While some of the proposals are clearly consumer-orientated, others are not.

These include Issufy, a web-based software platform that streamlines the IPO distribution process for investors, issuing companies and their advisers.

Other services like this include Nivaura, a platform that uses automation and blockchain for issuance and lifecycle management of private placement securities.