The Astana Financial Services Authority (AFSA) Fintech Regulatory Sandbox (Guidance and Application Form) to conduct business in the AIFC (Astana International Financial Centre) and Kazakhstan. An excerpt from the Regulatory Sandbox Guidance appears below:
- The AIFC Fintech Regulatory Sandbox is a special framework that allows FinTech innovators to conduct live experiments in a controlled environment under the regulator's supervision.
- This is a guide for any businesses that are keen to implement innovative financial products, services, processes, business models and delivery mechanisms utilizing Financial Technology (“FinTech innovation”) but are looking for an approach to enable them to test the viability of these FinTech Innovations in a cost effective and timely manner.
- In light of these considerations, the Astana Financial Services Authority (“AFSA”) has introduced the FinTech Regulatory Sandbox (the “Sandbox”) – a live and production environment in which businesses can deploy and test FinTech Innovation(s) without obtaining a licence from AFSA to carry on a financial services business (“licence”) in the Astana International Financial Centre (“AIFC”) and without immediately incurring all the normal regulatory consequences of engaging in the activity in question. However, to test FinTech Innovation(s) in the Sandbox the business requires the Sandbox Permission from AFSA.
- Generally, Financial Institutions licensed to operate in AIFC are already free to launch new FinTech Innovation(s) without first seeking AFSA’s permission, as long as they have carried out their due diligence and there is no breach of legal and regulatory requirements.
- AIFC FinTech Regulatory Sandbox Guidance (the “Guidance”) sets out AFSA’s approach to the Sandbox framework. In particular, this Guidance includes the eligibility and authorisation criteria applicants must satisfy to be authorised as the Sandbox Participants, the authorisation process, the types of conditions, limitations or restrictions that AFSA may impose on the Sandbox Participants, as well as the information that the Sandbox Participants may be required to produce to AFSA.
- The Guidance will be of particular interest to firms that are looking to apply technology in an innovative way to provide financial services that are or likely to be regulated by AFSA.
- The Guidance is applicable to any company that utilises or plans to utilise FinTech in capital markets, asset management, private banking, Islamic finance, (re)insurance, green finance and other activities (i.e. peer-to-peer lending and financing, crowdfunding, payment processing) that are or likely to be regulated by AFSA.
- Technology businesses and professional services firms that want to provide services to AIFC bodies and AFSA regulated firms can also apply for the Sandbox if they need clarity around applicable rules and regulations administered by AFSA (“Rules”) before testing.