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Fintech Supervisory Sandbox (FSS)

The Fintech Supervisory Sandbox (FSS), launched by the HKMA in September 2016, allows banks and their partnering technology firms (Tech firms) to conduct pilot trials of their Fintech initiatives involving a limited number of participating customers without the need to achieve full compliance with the HKMA's supervisory requirements. This arrangement enables banks and Tech firms to gather data and user feedback so that they can make refinements to their new initiatives, thereby expediting the launch of new technology products, and reducing the development cost.

In the light of the experience obtained in operating the FSS, the HKMA intends to upgrade the FSS to an enhanced version. New features are being considered: (i) a Fintech Supervisory Chatroom will be set up to provide supervisory feedback to banks and Tech firms at an early stage of the development of their Fintech products; and (ii) tech firms may have access to the sandbox by seeking feedback from the Chatroom without necessarily going through a bank.


Operating Principles

The HKMA has adopted the following principles in operating the FSS:

(a) The FSS is available to Fintech and other technology initiatives intended to be launched in Hong Kong by banks;

(b) The management of a bank that is allowed to use the FSS should ensure that the following safeguards are in place:

(i) Boundary – Clear definitions about the scope and phases (if any) of the pilot trial, the timing and termination arrangements;

(ii) Customer protection measures – Measures for protecting the interests of customers during the trial, which generally cover the selection of customers who understand the associated risks and voluntarily join the trial, complaint handling, compensation of any financial losses by customers, and arrangements for customers to withdraw from the trial;

(iii) Risk management controls – Compensating controls for mitigating the risks arising from less than full compliance with supervisory requirements and the risks posed to the bank’s production systems and other customers; and

(iv) Readiness and monitoring – Readiness of the systems and processes involved in the trial and close monitoring of the trial.

(c) The FSS should not be used as a means to bypass applicable supervisory requirements.

The HKMA has not stipulated an exhaustive list of the supervisory requirements that may potentially be relaxed within the FSS. Banks and their partnering Tech firms intending to access the FSS are advised to get in touch with the HKMA early. The HKMA stands ready to discuss with them individually on the appropriate supervisory flexibility that can be made available to them within the FSS. 


Latest Development

Banks and their partnering Tech firms that use the FSS are able to gather real-life data and user feedback on their new Fintech products or services more easily, so that they can make refinements to them as appropriate before the full launch. Hence, the FSS can facilitate banks and their partnering Tech firms to rollout Fintech initiatives earlier, at a lower cost and with better quality upon full product launch.

As of 29 September, 23 new technology products involving 9 banks have been tested in the FSS. Out of these cases, 11 pilot trials have been completed, and the products have subsequently been rolled out. Separately, banks have collaborated with Tech firms in 13 trial cases. Please refer to the following table for further details.

Statistics on the Usage of the FSS (As of 29 September 2017)

Technology involved Number of pilot trials
Biometric authentication 7
Soft token 2
Chatbot 2
Distributed ledger technologies 3
Others (e.g. API, notification service via social media platforms) 9
Total 23


Cross-sector Fintech services

The HKMA, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) and the Insurance Authority (IA) have launched their respective sandboxes. If a firm intends to conduct a pilot trial of a cross-sector Fintech product, it may apply to seek access to the sandbox it considers most relevant. The regulator will act as the primary point of contact and assist in liaising with the other regulators for the firm to access the sandboxes concurrently. Below are links to contact points of the sandboxes operated by the SFC and the IA.

SFC Regulatory Sandbox
IA Insurtech Sandbox


Contact Us

If a firm plans to make use of the HKMA's FSS for conducting pilot trial of one of its Fintech products, please contact through the email address below:


Notices and Updates

29 Sep 2017 Press Release: A New Era of Smart Banking
6 Sep 2016 Fintech Supervisory Sandbox (FSS)



Last revision date: 29 September 2017
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