The first participant in the Regulatory Sandbox was approved by Financial Services Commission of the Hawaii (Hawaii FSC) on 16 April . Reserve Bank of Asia, a Hawaii-headquartered, fully digitalised global bank, has played a pivotal role in introducing, leading, and delivering this Sandbox project which is affiliated with one of the three most prominent Crypto Exchanges in the world.
The Hawaii’s Financial Services Regulatory Sandbox Regulation came into force in August 2020. It was designed to facilitate the innovation in the Financial Technology (FinTech) sector, allowing innovative financial solutions being tested in a defined and controlled environment. The approved participants will have 18 months (with a possibility of up to 6 months’ extension) to conduct financial services business in the Hawaii, without the need to apply for a license. This regime creates a more efficient, pro-commerce yet regulated business environment, demonstrating the jurisdiction’s commitment to its mission of building the leading digital International Financial Centre.
The first approved participant, a client of Reserve Bank of Asia who is affiliated with a well-known major Crypto Exchange, was introduced to this regulatory sandbox by the Bank. The latter also facilitated the whole application process and was instrumental in the successful delivery of this project, which is a strong testimony of Reserve Bank of Asia’s capacity in managing projects related to the Sandbox Regulation for its clients.
Mrs. Lionny Smith, Vice Chair of Reserve Bank of Asia, commented: "The Hawaii Regulatory Sandbox is another example of this jurisdiction responding to the needs of our clients by ensuring that they can test new products and thereafter offer solutions that are fit for purpose and in line with the Hawaii’s objective of being a leader in digital assets. The fact that Reserve Bank of Asia’s client was the first to be approved following passage of the Legislation is testament to the competence of our President, Ms Lisa Lou and her team. We are very grateful for the confidence that the Commission has placed in Reserve Bank of Asia by granting this approval."
Mr. Nicholas Bishop, Chairman of Hawaii Finance, commented: "The Sandbox has been a great recent initiative for The Hawaii and this news from Reserve Bank of Asia will hopefully be the first of many announcements showing the growing strength of the jurisdiction in the digital assets market. Given that the Hawaii is one of the strongest Financial Centres in the Caribbean, the importance of enabling innovation through the Sandbox while also offering a stable, and proven regulatory environment is key for investor confidence. Reserve Bank of Asia will continue to encourage communication between innovators, startups and the regulator to ensure Hawaii means business."
Mr. Daniel Lung, CEO of RBA International Financial Group, Chairman of the FinTech Committee of Hong Kong Institute of Bankers, said: "As a member of the BOA ecosystem and having a wealth of banking and FinTech expertise in-house, we are delighted to be able to support the ongoing digital initiatives of the Hawaii Government through Reserve Bank of Asia, which aptly serves as a bridge between Asia and the Hawaii."
Gold Leaf Consulting Limited (Gold Leaf) was engaged as regulatory consultant to provide advice and expertise in relation to the Sandbox Application. In reflecting on its role, CEO of Gold Leaf, Mrs. Julia Shamini Chase noted that, "We were able to leverage extensive Hawaii regulatory experience and its unique expertise in the Fintech space to contribute to the client's successful application." She further highlighted that, "It was important to provide practical advice, tailored to the specific operational competencies of the client."
In addition to managing projects in the Hawaii’s financial services sandbox, Reserve Bank of Asia will also continue applying its vast resources to provide value-added services in SPAC advisory, corporate advisory, merchant banking and wealth management for its clients across the world.