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Fintech groups support sandbox initiative in PH to encourage innovation

FinTech Alliance.PH and FinTech Philippines Association announced plans to collaborate in introducing the Philippines’ Fintech Industry Sandbox, which is supported by the UK Prosperity Fund Asean Economic Reform Programme (Asean ERP).

This initiative includes close coordination with key stakeholders including the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Insurance Commission (IC), and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to support the establishment of the Industry Sandbox to try new FinTech-enabled solutions in an environment composed of a broader range of players: start-ups, banks and other financial players, consumers, and other stakeholders from the industry.

“The collaboration between the FinTech organizations which was announced during the World Fintech Festival held recently is a significant milestone toward the development of an industry sandbox in the Philippines,” said Alastair Totty, charge d’affaires, British Embassy Manila. “Through the Financial Services and Intellectual Property component of the Asean ERP, the UK (United Kingdom) is delighted to support the sandbox initiative which is a key element in the country’s digital transformation that will help promote innovation and collaboration, and scale up business opportunities and sustainable economic recovery.”

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The Philippines FinTech Industry Sandbox will help firms and institutions share an off-market development environment where developers of fintech solutions can access data, technologies, and services from different providers in order to validate innovative ideas or address common industry challenges.

The Philippines FinTech Industry Sandbox will support the plans of the BSP to foster the development of innovative financial services that aim for greater financial transparency and consumer protection by giving customers better control over their personal data and improved access to financial products even beyond financial institution-owned channels under a new Open Finance framework.

“The FinTech looks forward to the realization of the industry sandbox initiative that would benefit all stakeholders in the digital space,” said Lito Villanueva, chair of the FinTechAlliance.PH and executive vice president and chief innovation and inclusion officer at the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. “This would promote greater collaboration and support toward sustainable innovations encouraging more players to participate in ensuring consumer protection and regulatory compliance.”

The Industry Sandbox initiative was inspired by the UK Innovate Finance’s Industry Sandbox Consultative Report and is envisioned to:

  • Provide the FinTech ecosystem in the Philippines with access to resources such as data, APIs, or reference architectures which enable entrepreneurs to create solutions that are additive and more readily integrated with their existing technology stack
  • Help address complex problem solving by facilitating industry collaborationon identifying and addressing complex shared consumer, technological and regulatory challenges
  • Improve regulatory efficiency by encouraging regulators to engage as observers where the industry can share knowledge early in the life cycle of solution development.

In conducting research on industry sandbox models, the two fintech groups with support from the Asean ERP also analyzed the Asean Financial Innovation Network’s (AFIN) API Exchange (APIX) which they agreed to host the Philippines FinTech Industry Sandbox. APIX is the world’s first cross-border, open-architecture API marketplace and sandbox platform for collaboration among fintech companies and financial institutions in which participants can integrate and test solutions with each other via the platform’s cloud-based architecture.

The Philippines FinTech Industry Sandbox initiative will be closely coordinated with the BSP to ensure appropriate security for all APIs, appropriate compliance guidance, and will be free to all small and medium-sized developers.

“As one of the leading proponents of innovation for the fintech industry in the country, Fintech Philippines Association is pleased to be a part of this initiative supported by the Asean ERP,” said Justo. Antonio Ortiz, chair, Fintech Philippines Association and vice-chair at UnionBank of the Philippines. “With this initiative, we can truly Tech Up the country, one industry, one entrepreneur, one person at a time.”