Representatives of institutions from both the private and public sector participated in a presentation of a draft strategy for Future Finance Poland. This project has one main objective: build and develop a next-generation financial center in Poland. The meeting was organized by the FinTech Poland Foundation and the Polish Financial Supervision Authority (UKNF).
According to Paweł Widawski and Piotr Brewiński, who are responsible for launching the Future of Finance Poland project – if the strategy they presented is implemented – Poland has the potential to, in 4-5 years, become one of the 30 most completive financial centers in the world. The document is based on three main pillars. The first is the establishment of an organizational structure responsible for dialogue between the private and public sectors and the coordination of both domestic and international activities intended to aid the center’s development. The second pillar is related to selecting an area(s) on which the center’s activities will be focused – this is based on strengths in Poland’s economy and specific innovative solutions being developed that have the best chance to succeed. Today these areas include – among others – artificial intelligence, digital assets, cyber security, and solutions designed to make the finance industry more sustainable. The third and final pillar has to do with building Poland’s brand as a recognizable global financial center – this by creating a friendly environment for foreign investors as well as supporting the international expansion of Polish companies doing business in the financial industry.
The event began with a speech by Jacek Jastrzębski, Chairman of the Polish Financial Supervision Authority, who indicated that the Authority is extremely interested in being part of the Future Finance Poland project. This, first and foremost, is because its objectives align perfectly with one of his organization’s primary missions: supporting innovations in the Polish financial market.
“We take our pro-development mandate very seriously and this project is a perfect example of what that mandate is for. It’s more than a mandate, it’s one of our responsibilities. At the same time, it’s important to remember that development, innovation, and security don’t always go hand-in-hand. This is simply because innovation and development require taking certain risks. If we want to remain open to solutions like, for example, the regulatory sandbox we also have an honest discussion and answer the question: are we ready to accept the risks? It’s impossible to do some things differently – you can’t create new technologies and develop innovative solutions while maintaining a level of security that is on par with a bank deposit. There is always a certain increased level of risk associated with this process. We need to call it what it is and ask ourselves if we’re able to build a culture that accepts a certain amount of risk. It’s a fact that societies with high levels of risk acceptance are the most innovative” – says Jastrzebski.
Mr. Jastrzebski also added that Poland should look for opportunities as a future financial center in areas that reflect what we already do well and our natural predispositions. He pointed to operations centers and increasingly sophisticated support services related to, for example, cyber security or AML. These are evolving into very specialized areas related to advanced analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.
“Going in this direction means that we’ll be able to build a skill center that does more than offer simple, repetitive services and competitive labor costs. This could be the ticket to a new level of quality based on a unique set of skills. I think this model is worth exploring. There also appear to be certain opportunities related to the energy transition that’s happening in every sector of the economy – sustainable finance offers many prospects for development, and we have lots of know-how in the area. There is also a discussion around the clearing and the potential transfer of a certain number of clearing transactions from CCPs to the EU. This could be another topic worth looking into – in cooperation with KDPW. If these kinds of shifts are happening at the European level it might be a good time to develop an attractive offer” said the UKNF Chairman.
The Future Finance Poland project aims to create coordination and cooperation mechanisms within the financial industry and develop practical tools to support the development of Poland as a next-generation financial center at the regulatory, technological, business, and marketing levels. The approach also assumes the need to promote the financial center internationally and support the expansion of Polish companies doing business in the financial industry abroad.
During the meeting, we presented a strategy that was the result of months of analysis, research, and consultation with experts and market participants. It is a coherent vision that includes a specific set of defined objectives. To succeed, however, active involvement at the implantation phase – from key players in the financial industry, public and private – is required. This must include UKNF – especially since the supervisory authority has increasing competitiveness and innovation in the Polish financial industry among its statutory objectives. That’s why the involvement of the UKNF in the Future Finance Poland project means so much to us,” says Paweł Widawski, CEO of the FinTech Poland Foundation.
Recent years have seen unprecedented momentum for change in the world of finance. Global revenues of companies in this industry are projected to exceed $200 billion in 2030. Technological advancements, generational changes, localization, and the evolutions of living and working patterns are transforming existing financial centers and enabling the creation of new ones based on completive advantages that were previously overlooked. Centers that – in the past – have been on the edges of the financial industry map now how an opportunity to become a leader, not only in their region but the entire world. Given the number of skilled employees and the amount of modern infrastructure that the country already has as well as its favorable economic outlook Poland already has the potential to become a leading financial center in the CEE region. Up until now, however, there has been no precise strategy that could turn that vision into a reality.
Poland has been building its position as a recognized financial center for more than 30 years and has many strengths. These include a modern banking industry, a rapidly developing fintech segment as well a well-developed infrastructure tailored to the needs of the financial industry. On top of that Poland’s large pool of well-educated talent is already attracting more and more international financial institutions to choose the country as a location for its center of operations. We would however like to take these excellent foundations to the next level. That’s why we have launched the Future Finance Poland project” Paweł Widawski – FinTech Poland – concludes.