Coinciding with the FTSE Russell upgrade of Poland from emerging to developed market status, Bank Pekao, the country’s second largest lender, has opened a representative office in London, the first of several such offices the bank plans to set up across Europe.
“It is imperative for a bank with a strong international DNA like ours to remain close to our clients and investors,” says Michał Krupiński, the bank’s CEO. “Regardless of the outcome of the ongoing Brexit negotiations, Britain will remain an important partner for Poland and Polish companies. The economic exchange between the two countries is supported by the international ambitions of Polish corporates, the entrepreneurial spirit of Poles living in the UK, and British investors’ growing interest in Poland. Our new representative office in London will help facilitate cooperation between the two markets.”
Bank Pekao’s strategy includes investing in its corporate and investment banking franchise, building on its strong industry expertise, product breadth and balance sheet capabilities. The bank also believes that post-Brexit London will remain an important financial centre and the new office is expected to demonstrate that.
“The opening of Pekao’s London office coincides with the official announcement of the Polish stock market’s upgrade to developed status by FTSE Russell and Stoxx,” says Roksana Ciurysek-Gedir, vice-president of the bank’s management board, responsible for private banking and representative offices. “This significant achievement is the first promotion of a country from emerging to developed market status for nearly a decade.”
Mr Krupiński says that Poland no longer has many of the characteristics of an emerging economy.
“The country boasts a balanced macroeconomic situation and stable economic growth driven by private consumption and an inflow of EU funds. It has a very low penetration of forex debt, quite a diversified economy, inflation under control. Of course, 35 per cent of debt is foreign owned, but why should Poland be compared with Turkey or Argentina? Something bad happens in Turkey and the negative spillover means that our currency gets hit and our equity market gets hit. From this standpoint I see this move as very positive, because while emerging markets grow, they are more exposed to volatility. I hope we will still be able to grow without such volatility,” he tells Emerging Europe.
Photo: Bank Pekao / Anna Maria Rogalska