The Italian FinTech Sandbox (the "Sandbox") has been introduced by means of Ministerial Decree no. 100 of 2 July 2021, implementing Law 28 June 2019 no. 58 (the "Decree"), which entered into force on 17 July.
By means of the Decree, a FinTech Committee chaired by the Minister of Economy and Finance and composed of the main Italian regulators was established, which is in charge of monitoring and fostering the development of FinTech in Italy.
The Sandbox's main goal is to create the conditions for promoting the digitalisation of Italy, by establishing a "safe" environment where FinTechs can test technologically innovative services/products in the banking, finance and insurance sectors.
The procedure envisages (i) an initial admission phase, during which the applicant may informally consult with the competent supervisory authorities, in order to check whether it meets the requirements set forth by the Decree, (ii) a start-up phase, with the definition of the testing's modalities, and (iii) the actual testing phase, which can last for a maximum of 18 months, but it may be extended under certain circumstances.
Competent supervisory authorities can hence closely monitor the dynamics of the Italian FinTech market and identify the most appropriate interventions for fostering the development thereof, whilst enhancing the protection of consumers.
The Sandbox seems to have the right credentials for boosting the Italian FinTech market, though it remains to be seen whether, during its practical application, a possible duplication of time and costs may be avoided, and a closer coordination among NCAs at EU level may be achieved by introducing a EU-wide testing regime.