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Fintech February: Regtech Sandboxes And Collaborations With Partners Across Europe

The Annual FinTech & InsureTech Summit featured a panel dedicated to the challenges and perspectives of the local fintech environments in Bulgaria and Romania
The Annual FinTech & InsureTech Summit featured a panel dedicated to the challenges and perspectives of the local fintech environments in Bulgaria and Romania © Romanian Fintech Association

February was another action-packed month for the Bulgarian fintech industry.  Here are four of the biggest developments for the ecosystem.

The Bulgarian Finance Ministry is launching the first Regtech Sandbox in the Balkans 

Vladislav Goranov, the Bulgarian finance minister, announced plans for a regulatory sandbox during the third edition of the Annual FinTech & InsureTech Summit

“Currently, there are no clear regulatory rules, policies, and guidelines to govern innovation and the adoption of technological solutions in the Bulgarian financial sector. Compliance with technological progress is an indicator of a sustainable environment for business growth. Our goal is to bring together, through open dialogue, our efforts in order to encourage and support financial technologies developed locally, while positioning Bulgaria among the leading countries in the sector of innovation,” said Goranov.

The sandbox should allow fintech companies in Bulgaria to test new products, services, and business models in a secure regulatory environment. From the ministry perspective, an open collaboration with the industry should give government institutions a better idea of what regulatory frameworks will be needed to foster innovation.

The Bulgarian Fintech Association became a founding member of a European fintech alliance

On the 11th of February, nine European fintech and electronic payment associations formed The European Digital Finance Association (EDFA). The founding members of the entity, which will be incorporated as a non-profit organization under Belgian law, come from Bulgaria, Romania, The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Belgium, France, Italy, and Spain.

The newly formed alliance highlights that its main objectives are to advocate for better access to modern, more affordable and secure financial services, enhance innovation in the financial sector and promote the industry best practices that meet the highest standards of customer protection, transparency, cybersecurity, privacy, and sustainability.  One of the first activities for EFDA will be to engage in the public discussion that the European Commission is launching in regards to its new Strategy for Digital Finance.

Sofia hosted a meetup with Romanian Fintech Companies <-> Bulgarian companies from the sector are to visit Bucharest in May.

On the 26th and 27th of February, at the invitation of the Bulgarian Fintech Association and with the support of Eleven Ventures, Sofia welcomed the Romanian Fintech Association – RoFin.Tech as well as three Romanian fintech startups – FintechOS, Symphopay, and Finqware. The Romanian companies met with representatives of Bulgarian banks and presented their solutions in front of over 70 people from the financial industry in Bulgaria. The Bulgarian Fintech Association shares that this initiative was the first step in increasing the collaboration between the fintech ecosystems and will continue with various events and activities. The date for a  mirror event in Romania is already scheduled for the 11th of May when Bulgarian fintech companies will present their business at a special meetup in Bucharest.

“As fintechs, we cannot explore and create trust in a local CEE market only remotely. In order to try to collaborate with local fintech companies and prospects, we need to meet and visit the local ecosystems in person. The Fintech mission in Bulgaria has been an excellent experience that encourages us to continue with such actions, especially in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, ” said Cosmin Cosma, member of the board at the Romanian Fintech Association.

Innovative Sofia-based fintech companies will also have the opportunity to visit Frankfurt and meet some of the key finance players there

Talking about Bulgarian fintech companies that will present their solutions abroad, we should mention that Vangagis announced plans to send Sofia-based fintechs to Frankfurt at the end of March. Those with ambitions to expand to the German market can already sign up for a two day trip to the European financial capital that will feature meetings and workshops with all sorts of local entities, including investors, banks, regulators, fintech hubs, and corporates with interest in novel financial solutions. 

The initiative is delivered in partnership with Invest Sofia, Innovative Sofia, FinTech Consult the Bulgarian Fintech Association, and Trending Topics.

+++ More about the Frankfurt Fintech Tour here

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