Regulating Fintech Innovations

Posted on July 27th, 2022

Digitalization in the financial sector has accelerated expansions and developments in the past few years. The demand for innovation and novel ideas is unquenchable because of the vast scope of digitalization in the financial industry. With such inflated innovation and competition, it has become obligatory for fintech participants and leaders to abide by and comply with standards and regulations. Without set standards and regulatory practices, the field of innovation would lose direction, resulting in more damage than developments.

One of the most common approaches for regulating fintech trailblazers is by employing regulatory “sandboxes”.

So, what exactly are “Regulatory Sandboxes”?

A regulatory sandbox is an approach to testing, analyzing, and assessing different aspects of a new product, entity, business model, or any innovation under a controlled environment to safeguard the sanctity and improve the overall effectiveness of the fintech system. 

The testing and analysis under this method are similar to scientific experiments conducted in controlled and supervised setups, including both fixed and variable elements. Live testing is executed, with defined time limits and goals, under the supervision of regulatory authorities. Such live testing produces more authentic and accurate results than otherwise.

Overview

The first regulatory sandbox was tested in the UK in 2015. After seeing its impact and success, several other countries joined the cohort of establishing such sandboxes, which aimed at testing and analyzing the feasibility, usability, demand, effectiveness, and other elements of innovations. By the end of 2020, about 57 countries had established or planned to introduce regulatory sandboxes to their fintech spaces.

The concept sprouted because of the need to test novel ideas and innovations in a ‘live’ environment, which would help give more relevant results in a regulated fashion. However, as viable as that sounds, regulatory sandboxes are hard to establish because while they are required to promote innovation, they are also required to protect customer interests, the primary reason why regulatory authorities are mostly in a delicate position. 

Uses and Benefits of Regulatory Sandboxes

There are numerous benefits and uses of creating regulatory sandboxes to fintech empower innovation. 

Increased Value

By analyzing the feasibility and usefulness of new products, services, concepts, business models, and much more, regulatory sandboxes help accelerate the overall value for all stakeholders. Fintechs invest hefty amounts in studying markets and innovating new products, concepts, models, etc. By creating an environment and space that expedites the process of assessing the flaws and risks and experiencing the impact and potential of the innovation, the value of the idea, product, or service increases significantly.

Decreased Costs

Regulatory sandboxes are like airbags for investment stakeholders that prevent colossal monetary damage. Owing to the rapidly expanding scope of fintech, the level of investments in this industry is unimaginable. With companies and individuals putting such large sums at stake, it becomes imperative to release the innovations in a controlled environment that allows authentic testing and analysis to produce better results and lower costs, which otherwise would eventually lessen the enthusiasm.

Developing Associations

Regulatory sandboxes also provide immense scope to build new or remodel existing partnerships and associations. The purpose of releasing innovations and ideas in regulatory sandboxes is to study areas of potential success and otherwise, which would open doors for all types of improvements. This concept can also be used to create new partnerships or remodel old ones, to befit the new technology or innovation.

Focused Competition

With regulatory sandboxes becoming more popular among most fintech markets, the quality and level of competition have strengthened. As new participants get the sandbox cushioning for assessing their new products, it empowers them to safely analyze the product and business potential and, in turn, challenge the existing system.

Financial Inclusion

Financial inclusion of marginalized customers heavily depends on fintech’s capacity to innovate and create solutions that benefit underpowered customers. Regulatory sandboxes benefit the entire industry by giving rise to more options and probabilities of attaining financial inclusion. It also creates an open space for regulators and investors to exchange knowledge and ideas, which adds to the system’s overall health making space for better financial inclusion.

Overall Development

The development of the entire fintech industry depends on all its participants and contributors. Customers make involuntary demands that lead to innovations that eventually improve the overall system. Regulatory sandboxes create the perfect space for filtering out unwanted, unnecessarily expensive, or unfeasible solutions, which promotes the overall strength of the industry.

Closing Words

The fintech space has seen some inspiring innovations that have changed our banking methods and how we manage our finances. To protect the interests of the consumers, it is crucial to regulate and monitor all innovations closely. However, while regulations are essential, it is also important to leave space for creativity. Regulators for long have walked the thin line between strictness and creativity. Regulatory sandboxes make the perfect cushion that absorbs any massive crash that could occur, and refines the applicability and effectiveness of innovations, empowering the entire fintech system.

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