The Polish Financial Supervision Authority has begun accepting applications for operators for a decentralized regulatory sandbox
Financial Supervision Authority chairman Marek Chrzanowski and the regulator's financial innovation department head Artur Granicki have announced that the institution is taking applications from potential operators for the so-called decentralized virtual regulatory sandbox. Applications can be submitted by startup accelerators, foundations or financial institutions among others. The application deadline is November 9th. FSA representatives have stated that in the application process will be repeated in the future and should be cyclical. You will be able to find more information on the new fintech.gov.pl website, which is set to be launched soon.
The virtual regulatory sandbox operators’ task will be to prepare a testing environment which will be used to test new and innovative financial services. The environment will either have to simulate customer behaviors or the operator will be expected to help startups find test customers who will be entrusted with a defined sum of money that they will have to use. The operators will also be required to find companies interested in testing their services in the sandbox.
Companies utilizing the sandbox may be new businesses entering the market or established companies introducing a new, unique service. The FSA is expecting the virtual sandbox operators as well as fintech companies using it to be located in Poland. Foreign businesses interested in using this solution will be required to set up an office in Poland.
The FSA management hopes that the first companies interested in participating in the virtual sandbox will be selected by the end of this year so that the tests can start in the beginning of next year. They will take no less than 3 and no more than 9 months. They can be prolonged to one year but only in justified cased. The fintech companies participating in the tests will have the option, but will not be obligated, to file licensing applications. If they decide to do so, the process will be sped up thanks to the fact that sandbox participants will receive so-called licensing checklists - a closed catalog of issues that are dealt with during the licensing process.
After that the Financial Supervision Authority will create a real regulatory sandbox which will differ from the virtual one in the fact that it will allow testing on customers’ real money. This will, however, require changes in law - it is currently impossible to conduct regulated activity without an appropriate permission.
The FSA says that they already have a legislation package needed to launch a real sandbox. They do not want to share any details because they are currently discussing it with the Ministry of Finance. The financial regulator does not have right of initiative and hopes that the ministry will help with that. The legislative package is set to be presented in November. If all goes according to plan, the real sandbox could be launched in the second quarter of next year. The legislative process is currently the only obstacle.