In order to broaden outreach, the Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has restructured its Regulatory Sandbox (RSB) from a cohort-based system to open status, allowing applicants, including fintech and start-ups to apply year-round.
The applications will be received in three streams: Islamic finance, conventional finance, and women’s-specific trades.
For the convenience of applicants, SECP has developed a comprehensive, self-explanatory application format and diagnostic tool. These formats are available in the Sandbox section of SECP’s website.
Restructuring of the sandbox was required to reflect its maturity and the lessons learned in the three-plus years of its operations. The always-open status will ensure continuity in partnerships and allow applicants to approach the RSB at the right point in their development lifecycle.
Potential applicants can now test the suitability of their proposed model through the diagnostic tool, build an application based on a self-explanatory format, and submit it at any time to the dedicated email. After undergoing a comprehensive evaluation, the applicants can be allowed to test their solutions for a period of six to nine months in a controlled environment. The Commission’s terms and conditions will apply.
Launched in 2019, the RSB is in its fourth year of operations. During this period SECP received immense response from a wide range of innovators including well-established entities, foreign companies, start-ups, and Fintech. To date, 128 applications have been received in the four cohorts announced. The most recent Cohort IV accepted applications in May-June of this year. Out of the 26 applications received in the fourth cohort, SECP has allowed 11 applicants to test. The participants will start the six-month testing period from December 01, 2023.
The SECP has also published RSB Position Paper 2023, on its website, sharing experiences and learnings from its Regulatory Sandbox project for the benefit of potential participants. The paper also encapsulates the journey of the second cohort participants and details of their testing methodology, performance, and learning outcomes.
SECP believes that testing of technology-driven solutions through RSB can stimulate financial and technological innovation and broaden the range of financial products in the financial services market.