Standard Chartered to set up new global business services hub in Warsaw

LONDON (Reuters) - Asia-focused bank Standard Chartered STAN.L said on Thursday it was setting up a new global business services hub in the Polish capital of Warsaw, the latest expansion by a major bank outside London, Europe's biggest financial center.

People pass by the logo of Standard Chartered plc at the SIBOS banking and financial conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

Poland, by far the largest country in the European Union’s eastern wing, has had strong economic growth over the past decade and has proven attractive for international banks and other companies, partly due to its cheaper labor costs.

Wall Street banks Goldman Sachs GS.N and JP Morgan JPM.N have said they are also planning to increase their presence there.

Standard Chartered’s new office, which is expected to open in September, will house a range of operations serving the bank’s growing European and U.S. client base, including technology and finance services, cyber security, as well as traditional banking activities.

The Warsaw operation - which joins a network of similarly structured hubs in China, India and Malaysia - will be run by Rowena Everson, who has been promoted to chief executive of Standard Chartered Global Business Services in Poland from her current role as a managing director and head of business support, risk and governance for Europe based in London.

Thursday’s announcement follows speculation late last year that StanChart had shortlisted the central European city as a base for up to 500 members of staff.

A spokesman for StanChart said the Warsaw office was likely to house as many as 750 staff within the next five years, as functions normally performed by its Asian global business hubs migrated to Warsaw.

The decision to set up its first European global business services hub in Poland, rather than Britain - where the bank has its European headquarters - had nothing to do with Brexit, the spokesman added.

The bank employs 19,000 people globally in these service hubs, the spokesman said.

“As the Bank increases its focus on clients based in Europe and the Americas, we believe it has become essential to create a western hub that can support them fully in a more beneficial time zone,” Stephen Sheridan, Chief Operating Officer in Europe & Americas, said in a statement.

Reporting by Sinead Cruise and Lawrence White; editing by Jason Neely and Jane Merriman