The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a Call for Input on a Cross-Sector Sandbox, seeking input on whether a U.K. cross-sector sandbox is needed. The FCA has observed that due to emerging technologies, business models are constantly changing in all markets and that firms are diversifying into different sectors. In addition, across all sectors, firms are increasingly using big data. As a result, the FCA believes that the different sectoral U.K. regulators need to find new practical ways of collaborating. The FCA recently undertook a study into how a cross-sector sandbox involving multiple regulators could be established, engaging with a range of regulators, such as the Civil Aviation Authority, the Gambling Commission, the Information Commissioner's Office, Ofcom, Ofgem and the Prudential Regulation Authority, a small group of firms and other stakeholders. The study showed that there is potential for a cross-sector sandbox, but that further discussion is needed to understand the degree of interest and need before an operating model can be developed.

Based on the success of the FCA's financial regulatory sandbox, the FCA suggests that a cross-sector sandbox would provide a single-point-of-entry sandbox for firms to test innovative propositions with multiple U.K. regulators. The FCA acknowledges that challenges exist to its proposal, including uncertainties about demand for the sandbox and a misunderstanding of its purpose.  However, it is of the view that most of the challenges could be overcome or mitigated, as has been the case with its existing sandbox. The FCA has published the Call for Input to facilitate further discussions on the concept of a cross-sector sandbox. Responses are invited until August 30, 2019.