Singapore moots creation of template sandboxes to ease fintech approval process

Monetary Authority of Singapore has provided a consultation paper detailing pre-defined sandboxes that it says will complement existing fintech regulatory sandboxes and enable businesses to more quickly embark on experiments.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has unveiled a consultation paper that outlines pre-defined sandboxes, which it says will help businesses more quickly embark on fintech experiments and application development.

Called Sandbox Express, these template sandboxes would complement the existing fintech regulatory sandbox that was first launched in 2016, said MAS in a statement Wednesday. The industry regulator added that the pre-defined sandboxes would enable companies that planned to conduct regulated activities to bypass existing sandbox application and approval process.

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"The Sandbox Express is suitable for activities where the risks are generally low, or well understood, and could be reasonably contained within the specific pre-defined sandbox," MAS explained. "As a start, it will include sandboxes specifically pre-defined for insurance broking, recognised market operators, and remittance businesses."

Each of these sandboxes would contain pre-determined boundaries, expectations, and "regulatory reliefs", it said, adding that applicants must confirm they would be able to comply with all expectations laid out in the Sandbox Express for which they had applied. These included providing disclosure and obtaining acknowledgement from targeted consumers before involving them as customers in the trials.

According to MAS, applications would be assessed on two criteria: technological innovativeness of the financial service, and fitness and propriety of the applicant's key stakeholders.

Applications then would be fast-tracked, with approval decisions granted within 21 days, the regulator said. An approved pre-defined sandbox participant would be required to provide periodic progress reports to MAS and ensure all pre-defined sandbox expectations were adhered to.

MAS Chief Fintech Officer Sopnendu Mohanty said more than 150 fintech companies had tapped the existing finech regulatory sandbox since its launch, including "a number of firms" that had experimented in the sandbox.

Mohanty said: "To facilitate quicker experimentation and faster introduction of innovative financial services to the market, we are now offering the option of Sandbox Express."

MAS is seeking public feedback on its proposed guidelines for Sandbox Express until December 13.