Director ● ING Bank Slaski S.A.
Tomasz Stachurski has been at the forefront of the securities industry in Poland since shortly after the country adopted a free market system, beginning in 1989. He was in the first class to take the state exam to qualify as a public broker in Poland, given in 1991. Out of a few hundred applicants who sat for the 5-hour exam, only 32 passed. This created problems in July that year, when all brokerage houses operating on the Warsaw Stock Exchange were supposed to possess the license. Being on the cutting edge of major advances in the Polish stock exchange, and wider securities law is a theme of his career.
In 1992, Stachurski, along with some colleagues, decided to start a brokerage house. That year, he co-created and developed the brokerage arm of Bank Handlowy w Warszawie S.A., now owned by Citi. At the time, it was the largest wholesale bank in Poland.
The custody market in Poland was really still being created in 1992-Polish law only recognized brokerage houses as providers of securities services in Poland. Foreign banks, used to more sophisticated environments, were wary of the Polish market. “We started lobbying for changes,” he says. Stachurski’s lobbying finally paid off in 1997 when official recognition of bank custodians was approved and implemented.
“These were very important but still basic things, changes that we were lobbying for,” Stachurski says.
Stachurski was instrumental in creating the Custodians Council in Poland, as a representative body for custodians. He also contributed in a major way to the introduction of client settlement instruction in Polish Securities Law, which finally came into effect in 2000. At the beginning, Stachurski says, it was impossible to convince regulators, or anyone else, that there was an alternative to the traditional ways of conducting a trade.
“It was a long shot to try to do it [introduce settlement instruction]. I had a lot of effort with the NDS trying to explain how it works,” he says.
Stachurski’s commitment to the wider good of the market transcends national boundaries. During 2006-08, he was part of two working groups under the auspices of the European Commission including involvement in the works of the European Securities Markets Experts (ESME) Working Group. The group reviewed securities-related directives and came up with suggestions on how to change them so the market would operate better given the harmonization and standardization aspects of the European Union, Stachurski explains. He not only was the only representative of Poland, but of the entire region as well.
In 1998, he was asked to develop the custody business for ING Bank, a proposition “that was challenging,” he says.
“At the time, they had a back office, not much more. We are now one of the ‘big three’ again, the biggest three custodians in Poland.”
So what’s next? Stachurski is not slowing down in his effort to continually raise the standards of Poland’s markets.
In 2007 he convinced other market participants to apply in Poland the concept of ETC (electronic trade confirmation) and initiated the market working group. The concept is currently an important part of the Polish CSD strategy scheduled to be implemented in the coming few years.
Since 2003 Tomasz has been representing the community of custodians as the member of the Supervisory Board of National Depository for Securities actively co-shaping the policy of Polish CSD.
“It’s all in an effort to make Poland more similar to other markets,” he says. “Taking Poland out of the emerging markets” is the goal, as is making it “more similar to mature markets.”