Poland aims to be winner in
Brexit battle for banking jobs
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[March 16, 2017]
By Marcin Goclowski
(Reuters) - As Britain prepares to leave the European Union, the country
hoping to win the most jobs from London's financial centre is not
Germany or France, but Poland.
While the likes of Frankfurt and Paris are competing for top investment
bankers after Brexit, Poland has set its sights on mid-tier financial
and technical work where salaries may not be astronomical but jobs are
far more numerous.
Since the country joined the EU in 2004, many Poles have gone to Britain
to work; now the government wants to attract more jobs currently based
in Britain for Poles to do at home.
The Association of Business Service Leaders in Poland is working on
projects with seven big financial firms about shifting jobs from London,
said the Association's managing director Pawel Panczyj. The focus is on
middle office functions such as risk management and information
"We are talking with banks, insurance institutions and investment funds
who want to move their middle office abroad. The main factor behind
their decision (now) is Brexit," he told Reuters.
Panczyj's efforts are likely to bear fruit. The regional head of one
global investment bank told Reuters that he estimates as many as 20
percent of jobs at the lender's London base could eventually be done in
Last year's referendum when Britons voted for Brexit has forced banks
and other financial firms to seek new bases for some operations in a
country that will remain in the EU, allowing them to continue serving
clients in the bloc.
They are also under pressure to cut costs as they look at how to
reorganise their operations. In some cases, this includes work that
could still be based in Britain from a regulatory point of view, but
needs to be done more cheaply than is possible in Europe's dominant
Already, post-communist Poland has established itself as a major
offshoring site for banks, with estimates of financial services jobs
moved from all Western countries ranging from 35,000 to 45,000. Credit
Suisse <CSGN.S> and UBS <UBSG.S> are among those basing large IT and
back office administrative operations in the country.
Now financial firms are starting to move more sophisticated work there
such as risk management and product development, taking advantage of a
well-educated workforce as well as office space and wages that are
cheaper than in most of Europe.
Goldman Sachs <GS.N> has 300 people working at its office in Warsaw and
is seeking 200 more this year in areas ranging from risk modelling to
working on the technology for its fixed income trading systems. It wants
candidates with degrees in computer science or chartered financial
analyst (CFA) qualifications, according to job advertisements.
UBS is looking to hire close to 300 people at its offices in Krakow and
Wroclaw, according to its website.
HUBS OF HIGH TECHNOLOGY
"At the very beginning banks were hiring young people without (high)
qualifications, but now they are becoming hubs of high technology," said
Brunon Bartkiewicz, chief executive of Dutch-controlled Polish lender
ING Bank Slaski.
The growth of high-tech roles reflects the changing make up of the
people who work at investment banks.
[to top of second column]
Credit Suisse logo is pictured on their office in Warsaw Poland,
March 15, 2017. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel
days of trading floors packed with hundreds of highly-paid dealers are coming to
an end, with more of their market operations being automated. Banks need fewer
people in front-office roles, and more in technology and as well in compliance
and risk management to deal with tighter regulation since the global financial
That means Frankfurt and Paris are battling over a shrinking pool of front line
investment bankers. Officials from the cities' lobby groups estimate they could
each win around 10,000 jobs after Brexit.
contrast, Poland's government expects to attract around 25,000-30,000 jobs from
Britain in the business services sector just this year, with many of those in
The shift to Poland started well before Britain voted to leave the EU, but plans
to move more jobs have accelerated since the referendum, recruiters and
In central Warsaw BNP Paribas employs 700 people in the Spire office complex,
supporting the French bank's fund management business. Ryszard Piskorz, who runs
BNP Securities Services there, says the bank is still expanding but needs to
make itself an attractive place to work to fend off competitors who are also
"Poland is an emerging country and in our sector Poland is coming out as a role
expert, maybe even challenging Luxembourg as a fund industry centre," said
Marta Aserigadu, a recruitment consultant at Experis, part of Manpower Group,
said more well-educated Poles are finding it appealing to stay in their home
country as banks basing operations there pushes up wages.
is no need to leave Poland now. The difference in salaries concerns only
(recent) graduates. But this difference vanishes very quickly when you take
further steps in your career," she said.
"These people can reach high-level, decisive jobs within global corporations.
Staying at home, with low Polish costs of living, they can start their
international careers. There is no need to leave to London and live an
The government is pushing to keep this trend going. The ruling Law and Justice
party has a protectionist stance against foreign lenders in retail banking, but
hosting investment banks' back and middle office operations brings in jobs and
taxes without any loss of control over its financial system.
"Some time ago Poles were departing to London, but now it is the other way
round," Deputy Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in January.
(Story corrects staff number at Goldman Sachs in eleventh paragraph.)
(writing by Rachel Armstrong; editing by David Stamp)
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