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The FCA’s Green FinTech Challenge

The FCA’s new Green Fintech Challenge is aimed at firms developing green solutions that need specific regulatory support to bring their proposition to market. The FCA wants a financial services market that works well when responding to the challenges of climate change, as well as potential opportunities. It has therefore launched the Challenge to support innovation and growth in the Green Finance sector as part of the Government’s annual Green GB Week, see details of this here.

It is encouraging firms that require specific regulatory support, and meet the criteria, to apply to join the Green Fintech Challenge cohort. The Challenge will provide support to a selection of firms developing innovative products and services to assist in the UK’s transition to a greener economy. It is open to start-ups, incumbents and technology providers. Examples of green solutions include (but are not limited to);

  • supporting capital flows/investment towards green products and services,
  • driving efficiency in the issuance, distribution or adoption of green products,
  • managing the climate-related risk posed to market participants,
  • environmental impact measurement, or
  • delivering new green financial products

Firms developing broader ethical, social impact or environmental, social and governance products and services are welcome to apply, on the condition that there is a link with, or associated benefit to, the Green Finance agenda.

If an application is successful, the firm will be eligible to benefit from Innovate services including:

  • a dedicated Innovate Adviser,
  • authorisation support,
  • live market testing in the FCA sandbox, and
  • guidance and/or informal steers

The FinTech Challenge is a pilot approach for FCA Innovate. This involves taking a more active role in driving innovation in an area where the FCA sees a clear benefit to UK consumers and markets. This pilot FinTech Challenge will focus on firms developing innovative solutions to assist in the UK’s transition to a greener economy.

The Challenge does not replace existing Innovate services. Firms developing propositions that are not within the scope of the Challenge can apply to Direct Support, the Advice Unit or cohort 5 of the regulatory sandbox.

Once the Challenge is completed, the FCA will reflect on whether it wishes to roll out further Fintech Challenges.

If a firm wishes to take part, it can complete the application form (which is available through the FCA web page mentioned above) and send it to  The deadline for applications is 11 January 2019.

Once the application window has closed, the FCA will assess all applications and will select a small number of firms that meet the criteria. All applicants will benefit from an initial phone call with a member of the Innovate team to discuss their idea. Successful applicants will be notified by the end of Q1 2019, and a list of successful firms will be published on the FCA website at a later date.

All applications will be assessed against the following eligibility criteria:

  • assisting in the transition to a greener economy,
  • benefit to UK markets and consumers, and
  • need for Innovate services

How Thistle Can Help You?

Thistle will continue to keep this area under review and will issue further updates where necessary. Please contact Thistle if you need assistance in relation to any of these issues. Visit our Fintech or Innovation Hub pages for more information on our services.