The British Virgin Islands Financial Services Commission has announced that it will launch its new FinTech Regulatory “Sandbox” on August 31.

The initiative is intended to provide financial institutions with the digital infrastructure to test new products and services.

The new offering was detailed in a July 30, 2020, webinar by the territory’s financial services promotion agency, BVI Finance. The “sandbox” is part of recent efforts to create an environment that supports the development of a thriving FinTech sector from the islands.

According to BVI Finance, the objectives for the sandbox include “promoting efficiencies by encouraging new solutions; leveraging existing or new technology in an innovative way in order to deliver new financial products or services or to improve business processes; providing regulatory clarity on whether a new financial product or service complies with legal and regulatory requirements; and developing a targeted regulatory response.”

From August 31, 2020, businesses will be invited to submit applications. Once approved, they will given 90 days to launch their FinTech venture. A testing stage will then last for 18 months, or 24 months with an extension, during which the territory’s authorities will work with the venture to establish the settings to enable its longevity.

According to BVI Finance, applicants must have “an element of innovative FinTech” to be allowed to participate in the sandbox. “Eligible persons” are listed as: “a startup proposing a new financial services solution, that involves a FinTech business model that is not currently covered (whether explicitly or implicitly) under current regulatory legislation and may require issuance of new regulations; a startup who wishes to test an innovative technology to deliver a licensable financial service; or current licensees who wish to test an [innovative] technology as a part of their already approved financial service offering.”

BVI Finance said, however, that the initiative is “not an incubator sandbox”; those businesses not “ready to launch” will not be eligible to access the scheme.

The full eligibility conditions and fees for using the sandbox (ranging from USD2,000 to USD10,000) are listed on the BVI Finance website.

Elise Donovan, Chief Executive Officer at BVI Finance, said: “I am glad that the Commission has committed to this innovation, and is moving forward in further putting BVI on the map as far as FinTech is concerned. We are very encouraged and look forward to the launch on August 31, 2020.”