fintech and blockchain icons on financial technology background

Several Canadian securities regulators may be involved in cross-border innovation experiments under the global “regulatory sandbox” that was launched earlier this year,

The various global regulators that are part of the cross-border sandbox, known as the Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN), received 44 applications from companies looking to experiment with innovative products or services, said the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said Monday in an update posted to its website.

Of those, eight firms have passed an initial screening, and will now develop testing plans for regulators to consider. If those plans pass muster with the participating regulators, they will move on to the testing phase.

Several of the eight firms are seeking tests that would involve Canadian regulators, including the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) and the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC).

Specifically, a “regtech” firm powered by artificial intelligence (AI) is seeking to test its product with the OSC and the AMF, along with regulators in Australia, the U.K., Hong Kong and Dubai. In addition, the BCSC is part of a possible test involving a company that is developing a blockchain-based platform to allow investors to trade real estate shares as securities.

The firms selected for the cross-border testing pilot will be announced late in the second quarter, the FCA said.

“A high number of applications were from firms with regtech and cryptoasset related business models,” it added.

“While we hope to receive further applications related to these areas in the future, it is also our hope and ambition to receive applications from other areas of financial services,” the U.K. regulator said.

Additionally, the FCA also announced the latest crop of firms that have been selected to participate in its U.K.-only sandbox. It received 99 applications from interested companies, which is an all-time high, and that 29 of those have been selected to proceed.

“The majority of applications came from firms looking to operate in the wholesale and retail banking sectors,” the FCA said. “Examples of propositions that have been accepted include digital identity solutions, platforms which tokenise issuance of financial instruments, and services aimed at facilitating greater access to financial services for vulnerable consumers.”