Sebi moots regulatory sandbox regime
   Date :01-Jun-2019
Business Bureau
Markets watchdog Sebi Tuesday proposed a regulatory sandbox for financial institutions wherein exemptions could be provided from various regulations for developing new products and services. By participating in the sandbox regime, the companies will get an opportunity to test their solutions on real customers/investors. On the other hand, it may help Sebi to frame policies that may reduce the time and cost of deploying new investor-centric solutions in the capital market.
 
 
 
“Sebi plans to introduce a framework, to be called the ‘regulatory sandbox’. Under this sandbox framework, financial institutions regulated by Sebi shall be granted certain facilities and flexibilities to experiment with FinTech solutions in a live environment and on real customers,” the regulator said in a discussion paper. The regulator further said this discussion paper aims to put forth key principles and proposed approach for operationalising such ‘regulatory sandbox.’
 
Last week, the regulator had proposed innovative sandbox for fintech firms and entities not regulated by Sebi which may use the environment for offline testing of their proposed solutions in isolation from the live market.
As per Sebi, the term ‘regulatory sandbox’ pertains to live, testing environment where new products, processes, services and business models can be deployed on a limited set of eligible customers for a specified period of time with certain relaxations in the extant Sebi regulations and guidelines.
 
Regarding regulatory exemptions, Sebi said firms desirous of participating in the sandbox are required to apply for relaxation of specific regulations that they feel are hampering their innovations or are acting as barriers to entry of new products.
 
The applicant must demonstrate eligibility to the satisfaction of Sebi by showing evidence of the various criteria laid down by the regulator.
 
The solutions or products would not be permitted to be tested in the regulatory sandbox if the applicant has no intention of deploying the FinTech solution in India on a broader scale after exiting from the sandbox, the regulator said.
 
Besides, the applicant must provide adequate disclosure of the potential risks to users participating in the sandbox and seek prior confirmation from such users that they fully understand and accept the attendant risks.
Upon approval by Sebi to participate in the sandbox, the participant must submit interim reports on the progress of the test. The duration of the sandbox testing stage is proposed to be a maximum of nine months with a maximum extension (upon request) of three months.
 
After the completion of testing, Sebi shall decide whether to permit the product, process, service or solution to be introduced in the market on a wider scale.