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Moldova Commits to Fintech: A Buzz Interview with Nicolina Turcan of ACI Partners

Moldova Commits to Fintech: A Buzz Interview with Nicolina Turcan of ACI Partners

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In a detailed discussion on Moldova’s evolving fintech sector, ACI Partners Head of Fintech and E-Payments Nicolina Turcan highlights significant progress, largely driven by technological advancements, cross-border market integration, and the country's need to align its regulatory framework with EU regulations and directives and adjust its payment infrastructure.

"The main fintech developments are in payments," Turcan begins, zeroing in on specific legislative amendments that are currently shaping Moldova's fintech landscape. She shares that the country is in "the midst of a legislative transformation following the implementation of the PSD2. The introduction of open banking standards will introduce a new way of interpreting banking services, impacting payment service providers, businesses, and customers." She says that Moldova is likely to implement the "Berlin Group standard for open banking, which will bring several practical advantages, since usage of a uniform API will ensure cross-border compatibility and seamless communication between payment service providers."

Turcan notes that the "implementation of instant payments infrastructure is part of Moldova’s broader strategy to modernize its financial sector." She underlines that the "Moldovan regulator is also working on aligning Moldova’s payment services with the SEPA Regulation, which is paramount for integrating Moldova into the Single Euro Payments Area and facilitating cross border transactions." With the rapid evolution of e-payment legislation driving standard adjustments in the market, she emphasizes the importance of considering existing payment service providers, new payment service providers entering the jurisdiction, as well as new players (AISP and PISP).

There are also operational challenges, Turcan points out, such as "the need for robust authentication measures by payment service providers, and compliance with stringent AML/KYC regulations. Moldova's legislation is influenced by EU standards and FATF recommendations." Recent updates to the AML laws "require detailed transaction monitoring and risk assessment, which presents a significant hurdle for many businesses, but also ease cross-border cooperation," she says.

An additional area that warrants major consideration is data protection. According to Turcan, "data protection is a major concern, since open banking mandates all account servicing payment service providers share data in their possession with third-party providers (usually fintech companies). Notably, we have reached a significant milestone with a new law implementing the GDPR, recently approved by the Moldovan Government," she says. This is particularly relevant for fintech, she believes, where "data must be securely managed and open to third-party providers under controlled circumstances to mitigate risks and potential data breaches."

Looking at the big picture, Turcan reports that these changes have left their mark on Moldova's presence on the international stage. "These reforms are pivotal for Moldova’s integration into the global market," she says, "like our submission of the request for joining SEPA in early 2024, launching our national instant payment system – MIA – approval of legislation on cash settlement, and approval of legislation regulating crowdfunding and crowd investment."

Gazing at the path forward, Turcan says that Moldova will likely seek to continue improving its business development by integrating more sectors, such as the energy market. "The goal is to establish Moldova as a trustworthy market, balancing legal requirements and rigorous standards with business growth, ensuring that businesses can thrive within a well-regulated framework while developing compliant and secure operations," Turcan concludes.

Moldovan Knowledge Partner

ACI Partners is a leading law firm in Moldova with an expanding network of partners throughout Europe. ACI Partners was established in 2006 and since then has managed to build a very strong and competitive legal practice. Our business strategy strives to deliver a solid and reliable service, going beyond merely grasping the law, which the clients may turn to whenever they need. In reaching this goal, ACI Partners employs a personalized approach to each client, showing a genuine respect for their values and unqualified commitment to their interests and needs, steadily investing in knowledge and data management and ensuring a working environment consistent with our clients’ quality demands and high expectations.

ACI Partners is a one-stop shop law firm proficient in all possible legal matters a business might come across in Moldova, starting with incorporation of a business, and obtaining of all the necessary regulatory permits, continuing with various daily matters, such as contracts, labor, and migration, and finishing with dispute settlement, insolvencies, and criminal investigations. But we pride ourselves especially for our unmatched expertise in most innovative and complex areas for Moldova, as Modern Financial Products, Data Protection, Renewable Energy, Competition, Clinical Studies, Public Procurement, and Regulatory. In our work, we always involve a team of professionals with the relevant skill-mix, which enables us to provide our clients with an integrated and comprehensive advice, superior to our competitors.

ACI Partners has advised the Government of the Republic of Moldova, businesses, international organizations, and other institutions on most challenging transactions, assignments and projects.

ACI Partners is not just another law firm. Over the course of our existence and working in Moldova, and on the international stage for our non-Moldovan clients, we have developed a strong set of core values which, we believe, guide us in everything that we do and, moreover, gives us a competitive advantage – differentiating us from other firms on the market.

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