The first participant has been admitted to the Austria’s Financial Market Authority (FMA) regulatory sandbox. Innovative business models subject to financial market regulations can be checked in the sandbox about whether they meet the requirements set out in supervisory law and can be developed until they reach a regulatory mature state. The sandbox is available both to newly founded enterprises (start-ups) as well as financial services providers that are already supervised for investigating and developing innovative FinTech business models. “Our regulatory sandbox is intended to promote innovations, and to thereby strengthen Austria as a financial centre and as an economic location,” the FMA’s Executive Board members, Helmut Ettl and Eduard Müller remarked: “As the supervisor we also gain an better and more profound insight into ongoing technological developments.”
Austrian Finance Minister Gernot Blümel is pleased “that this recently created initiative to support digitalisation is gaining acceptance, and that a first FinTech company has been admitted to the sandbox. Especially in times of crisis, digitalisation presents an opportunity for enterprises in Austria, and must therefore also be promoted by the government. The Regulatory Sandbox makes a contribution towards the financial sector, while also creating innovative possibilities for enterprises as well as a broader offering for Austrian consumers.”
An app for trading in digitalised securities
The first FinTech that was admitted to the sandbox wants to provide an app for trading in security tokens, which are digital securities based on the blockchain technology: it will bilaterally broker buy and sell orders, as well as offering portfolio management and investment advice. In addition services in relation to virtual currencies are also intended to be added to this offering. The applicant’s objective is to become a licensed investment firm as well as to be a registered service provider in relation to virtual currencies. The provider is already required to fulfil all regulatory requirements towards clients during the test phase. Without official authorisation, no-one is allowed to offer financial services requiring a licence or registration in the sandbox.
The Regulatory Sandbox Beirat (advisory board), composed of representatives from the public sector, the economy, academia and the supervisor, is required to submit an opinion during the approval procedure about the existence of an economic interest from both an overall economic perspective and the regional political perspective, and to assess the business model’s readiness for the test phase and market readiness.
The Regulatory Sandbox is an extension of the FMA’s FinTech Point of Contact, which continues to be the central point of contact for all enquiries by FinTechs about the obligation to hold a licence, or to register, or to produce a prospectus.
Further information about the Regulatory Sandbox can be found on the FMA Website on the portal for the FinTech Point of Contact & Sandbox
Journalists may address further enquiries to:
Klaus Grubelnik (FMA Media Spokesperson)
+43/(0)676/88 249 516