The past few years have seen the introduction of the fintech sandbox from regulators around the globe. Singapore introduced its version of the fintech sandbox in June 2016, and since then there were more than 30 application from fintech startups to test their innovation.
Since the launch, we’ve seen one applicant graduate from the regulatory sandbox. In August 2017, PolicyPal was the first to graduate from the sandbox. The company is a digital insurance broker that enables customers to manage and purchase their insurance policies through its app. The graduation from the sandbox means that PolicyPal is now a licensed insurance broker.Currently there are two more companies that are within Singapore’s fintech namely, Kristal Advisors and Thin Margin. The focus of each company are in AI based advisory solutions and currency exchange respectively.
Though what is interesting to note is that during his opening speech at the Singapore Fintech Festival Minister Ong Ye Kung said “It turns out that half of these applications did not require the sandbox. Many did not need any regulatory exemption and MAS told them to go ahead and launch their solutions. ”
He added that it is encouraging as it signals to an existing regulatory environment where startups are allowed to flourish and an enabler for entrepreneurs to implement innovations easily.
Seeing as how Fintech Sandboxes are relatively new concept introduced in UK in 2015, it begs the questions whether regulators should instead focus reviewing existing regulations without the need of a sandbox, or if the abscence of a fintech sandbox does indeed limit innovations.
The sandbox is as much a learning journey for the applicants as it is for MAS. As we learn more, more can be for the industry, and do it better. During the Singapore Fintech Festival Minister Ong Ye Kung also added that MAS will expedite the sandbox application assessment so that firms can test and launch their innovative solutions faster on top of that MAS will also further loosen the regulatory boundaries for sandbox cases where the risks do not outweigh the potential benefits of the solution to consumers.