UK Legislates to Implement the Digital Securities Sandbox01/12/2024Legislation implementing the U.K.'s first digital sandbox – the Financial Services and Markets Act 2023 (Digital Securities Sandbox) Regulations 2023 – came into force on January 8, 2024. The DSS Regulations enable the Digital Securities Sandbox to be established. The regulators are expected to consult soon on the proposed application process and rule changes.
U.K. recognized investment exchanges, recognized central securities depositories and investment firms that are licensed to operate a multilateral trading facility or organised trading facility, as well as any other U.K. firms identified by the Financial Conduct Authority or Prudential Regulation Authority, may participate in the FMI sandbox as a "sandbox entrant". Sandbox arrangements carried out by a sandbox entrant must relate to either the activity of operating a trading venue or carrying on maintenance, notary or settlement functions in relation to in-scope instruments, or be ancillary to those activities. In addition to the ability of the primary sandbox entrant to carry out those activities within the sandbox, the following classes of firms may participate in FMI sandbox arrangements: firms using the services provided by the sandbox entrant; firms providing services to the sandbox entrant or its users; and firms carrying on activities or providing services in connection with an in-scope instrument used in connection with the FMI sandbox arrangements. By including this third class of firms, firms would be allowed to provide services that are ancillary or complementary to trading and settlement activities, such as clearing, within the sandbox.
Sandbox Entrants must be located in the U.K. so that direct supervision by the regulators is possible. However, overseas firms may use or interact with a Sandbox Entrant, provided regulatory requirements are met. There will not be a requirement for Entrants to use English and Welsh law. The DSS will be established for a period of five years, however, that time period can be extended and permanent amendments to legislation are possible too during that time.
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