The PwC’s competence centre – Financial Crime Unit that supports PwC’s customers from all over the world in preventing money laundering and terrorism financing – currently employs almost 500 experts. Due to an increasing number of projects and customers from new markets, it plans to recruit 300 additional employees in the next two years. Its experts will be using more and more new technologies, such as artificial intelligence.
The PwC’s Financial Crime Unit (FCU) competence centre has been in operation since 2012 in Poland, and for almost four years in Gdańsk. It specialises in preventing illicit funds from being introduced into the legal financial system and terrorism financing (Anti-Money Laundering, AML). The Polish Financial Crime Unit is the largest PwC team of its kind in the world, offering both operational and advisory support, while cooperating with other teams in the global PwC network.
– The financial market is extremely vulnerable to different types of risks. These include the growing pressure from regulators on the one hand and the risks associated with economic crime and terrorism on the other – says Damian Kalinowski, PwC Partner managing the Financial Crime Unit in Poland. – The priority for institutions operating in such a business environment is therefore to effectively prevent money laundering attempts and counteract the development of organised crime. Our goal is to support our customers in the effective management of this risk with the use of effective operational models supported by innovative technologies. We have been operating in Gdańsk for four years now, and there is a time of dynamic development ahead of us.
The FCU in Gdańsk has employed nearly 500 people for almost four years now. It plans to recruit 300 additional employees in the next two years.
– The rapid and noticeable growth of the PwC’s FCU center in the Tri-City is a clear proof that a high-class specialists from a very advanced field of finance are available here – adds Marcin Grzegory, Deputy Director in the Invest in Pomerania. – For the residents of the region, it is a signal that it is worth to specialise in this field, because attractive workplaces wait for them. It is also a strong signal sent to investors around the world that Gdańsk, and the whole Tri-City metropolitan area, are a perfect place to locate even the most demanding or strategically important operations.
The projects implemented at the FCU are extremely varied and are carried out both for large global banks and for smaller regional institutions.
FCU experts provide specialist advisory services that enable banks to comply with the current and new legislation. These activities include the development and implementation of policies, procedures and complex operational models. The FCU also provides operational support services for banking sector customers. The experts analyse the risk of banks being used for money laundering and terrorism financing (procedures like Know Your Client, KYC). They also examine suspicious transactions (referred to as Transaction Monitoring, TM). They monitor compliance with sanctions imposed on banks by international institutions and identify people at risk of corruption, including politically exposed persons. The FCU’s technology team combines expertise in financial crime prevention with technological solutions.
Maciej Przybyłowski, Director of the Financial Crime Unit, comments:
– The Financial Crime Unit is not a typical Polish shared services centre. The nature of the FCU places us in the next stage of development of the SSC market in our country. Our experienced team of experts in the highly sensitive field of counteracting fraud and terrorism has built a brand which is unique on a global scale. In Poland, we implement projects for the largest banks and financial institutions because the services and solutions at the level we offer are hard to find anywhere else in the world.
The FCU increasingly uses the latest technologies in its work. For example, the tools available to the unit automatically collect customer information from various sources, including web press reports and extracts from official databases. AI modules scan and evaluate thousands of articles, providing the analysts only with information that is relevant to financial crimes or terrorism financing.
Bartłomiej Styrnik, Partner at the Financial Crime Unit, adds:
– The FCU is one of world’s leading PwC teams to focus on IT solutions used in the fight against financial crime. Our tools and applications use artificial intelligence, machine learning, data science and robotics. These solutions enable us to halve the time previously spent by analysts on processes related to customer research and transaction monitoring. This significantly reduces project costs and gives our employees more valuable time to deepen the necessary analyses.
Comprehensive career system
The FCU employs people both from Poland and from many EU states, as well as from India, South Africa, China and the USA, to name just a few. In view of the international environment and numerous projects carried out for international customers, the prevailing language in the team is English. A good command of this language is one of the basic requirements for candidates applying for work in the competence centre. PwC recruits both experienced specialists as well as graduates and students from different faculties, such as law, linguistics or economics. What is important is that the FCU in Gdańsk has its own extensive training and certification system, so it does not require candidates to have any specialist knowledge in the field of AML. In the course of their work, employees are provided with an extensive training programme, covering among other things the following fields: team and time management, communication and presentation skills, trends in cybercrime, risks connected with virtual currencies or the use of specific programmes and tools. The Financial Crime Unit also supports its employees in obtaining international AML certifications.
As PwC experts emphasise, the focus on improving employees’ qualifications, combined with a dynamic increase in the scope of the team’s work, provides huge opportunities for development and promotion. Working in the Financial Crime Unit also involves being part of truly interdisciplinary and international teams of consultants, as well as carrying out ‘detective’ projects. FCU experts in Gdańsk are responsible for, among other things, searching and retrieving information, in-depth analysis of complex datasets, searching for patterns of suspicious activity in the complex maze of customer data, and gathering ‘evidence’.
I was also once a member of the police department. To tell you the truth, it was a really tough training. Just to be able to land a spot in the police force, one needs to take countless years of rigorous training. After being trained both physically and mentally, you get to have some kind of internship, it is one where you are going to be used in the real department, once you have passed all these, you can then become a full-fledged member of the police department.
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