MFSA launches regulatory sandbox for FinTechs to test innovations

Financial services watchdog launches ‘highly anticipated’ innovations test bed for FinTech operators

The MFSA launched its FinTech regulatory sandbox on Wednesday
The MFSA launched its FinTech regulatory sandbox on Wednesday

The MFSA has launched a regulatory sandbox which will allow FinTech operators to test their innovations within the financial services market, for a specified time, under certain conditions.

MFSA CEO Joseph Cuschieri said in a press conference on Wednesday that the “highly anticipated” sandbox would help to further position Malta as an international FinTech hub.

The setting up of regulatory sandbox was one of the objectives of the Authority’s FinTech strategy, which was launched last year.

Addressing the conference, financial services parliamentary secretary Clayton Bartolo said the sandbox would allow FinTech operators to foster innovation, sustainability, certainty and knowledge. 

This, he said, would ensure value to customers and to the financial services sector, while ensuring customer and investor protection, market integrity and financial soundness, therefore enhancing the reputation of the Maltese jurisdiction.

“The initiative will continue to affirm Malta’s reputation as a goal-driven economy,” Bartolo said.

MFSA FinTech & Innovation senior manager Luciano Brincat said the sandbox would be open to three types of operators - FinTech service providers requiring authorisation under existing financial legislation, FinTech suppliers which do not require authorisation under current laws, and FinTech operators which are at face value offering a financial service but which do not qualify clearly under existing financial services legislation.

The participants must also satisfy four criteria: innovation, need, benefit, and readiness, Brincat said. 

The technology they present must be innovative, there has to be a genuine need and objective for testing the solution in the sandbox, the solution must offer direct and indirect benefits to financial services sector and the consumer, and the MFSA must be satisfied that operators have sufficient resources to fulfil their tenure within the sandbox.

Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis, with the application stage having a pre-testing and testing phase. The former is when applicants will be evaluated and selected, while the latter is when the innovation will be tested, with the MFSA monitoring progress. The testing phase can be six or 12 months long.

Applications can be filed on the MFSA website through a dedicated form.

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