Financial institutions
in poland

The Polish legal system defines the regulatory framework for conducting operations by entities established and operating under the Polish law, and by entities from other countries of the European Economic Area (EEA) operating in Poland as a branch or as part of cross-border activities on the basis of a notification (the so-called passporting) addressed to the KNF.

The national requirements for conducting financial market activities focus primarily on issues such as:

  • • the legal form of the business activity,
  • • the share capital amount and the provision of adequate funds,
  • • the introduction of organisational mechanisms ensuring that a given entity operates in accordance with the law, i.e. in particular risk management, internal control or compliance systems,
  • • the requirements relating to education, professional experience or clean criminal record of managers who occupy key positions or have significant ownership interests,
  • • the establishment of a programme of activities and a financial plan for the first few years of operation.

Below are examples of requirements for obtaining an operating licence/permit for different financial sector entities. In addition to the requirements indicated below, it may be necessary to comply with other regulatory requirements before starting a business activity, such as presenting the articles of association, the business plan, documents proving the possession of sufficient financial resources to start a business activity or the identification of personal data of managers and persons who hold a significant capital share in the company, either directly or indirectly.

Bank

Form of business activity:

Joint stock company, cooperative bank

Amount of share capital:

Bank in the form of a joint stock company – EUR 5 m

Cooperative bank – EUR 1 m

Internal organisation:

Establishment of the following units:

1. A risk management unit in the bank

2. A compliance unit

3. An internal audit unit

Requirements for managers occupying key positions or having significant ownership interest:

1. Requirement of adequate education and experience

2. The President of the Management Board and the Member of the Management Board supervising risk management should prove their knowledge of the Polish language

3. Requirement of a minimum number of founders – 3 for a joint stock company and 10 for a cooperative bank

4. The KNF’s consent to the appointment of the President of the Management Board and one member of the Management Board

Examples of other requirements:

1. Requirement to provide suitable facilities

2. The bank’s business plan for at least 3 years

3. Requirement to appoint 1-3 proxies if more than 10 founders apply for a permit to establish a bank

Insurance company

Form of business activity:

Joint stock company, mutual insurance company

Amount of share capital:

The minimum share capital depends on the scope of services provided and ranges between EUR 2,5 m and EUR 3,7 m

Internal organisation:

Establishment of the actuarial function supervised by an actuary entered in the register of actuaries kept by the KNF

Requirements for managers occupying key positions or having significant ownership interest:

1. Requirement of adequate education and experience

2. Clean record requirement

3. The KNF’s consent to the appointment of the President of the Management Board and the Member of the Management Board responsible for risk management

Examples of other requirements:

Business plan with a simulation account for the first 3 financial years of business activity.

Brokerage house

Form of business activity:

Commercial law companies

Amount of share capital:

The minimum share capital depends on the scope of services provided and ranges between EUR 50,000, EUR 125,000 or EUR 730,000

Internal organisation:

Preparation of the internal documentation (including that of organisational units such as a compliance unit, risk management unit or internal audit unit) necessary to meet regulatory requirements

Requirements for managers occupying key positions or having significant ownership interest:

1. At least two general partners or partners with a right to exercise the profession of a securities broker or an investment advisor

2. Requirement relating to a clean record for fiscal offences

3. The KNF’s consent to the appointment of the President of the Management Board and the Member of the Management Board responsible for risk management

National payment institution, including a national payment institution providing only services consisting in initiating payment transactions

Form of business activity:

Commercial law companies

Amount of share capital:

Share capital amounts to:

1. EUR 125,000

2. EUR 50,000 – when the applicant provides only AIS services, or

3. EUR 20,000 – when the applicant intends to provide only money transferring services

Internal organisation:

1. The applicant attaches a description of the risk management and internal control systems along with the application to the KNF

2. Obligation to prepare and present the internal risk management and internal control procedures to the KNF

Establishment of the following units:

1. An internal audit unit

2. A risk management unit

3. A compliance unit

Requirements for managers occupying key positions or having significant ownership interest:

1. If the national payment institution intends to provide services through an agent, it must submit an appropriate notification to the KNF

2. The manager must have a clean criminal record and a degree in payment institution management

Examples of other requirements:

1. To have civil liability insurance, bank guarantee, insurance guarantee or other security for claims of the user

2. To have a programme of activities and a financial plan for at least 3 years

The provider only provides the services enabling access to account information

Form of business activity:

No requirements

Amount of share capital:

No requirements

Internal organisation:

1. Description of organisational structure

1. Description of risk management and internal audit principles

Requirements for managers occupying key positions or having significant ownership interest:

No requirements

Examples of other requirements:

1. To have civil liability insurance, bank guarantee, insurance guarantee or other security for claims of the user

2. To have a programme of activities and a financial plan for at least 3 years

Electronic money institution

Form of business activity:

Joint stock company, limited liability company

Amount of share capital:

The minimum share capital is EUR 350,000

Internal organisation:

1. The applicant attaches a description of the risk management and internal control systems along with the application to the KNF

2. Obligation to prepare and present internal risk management and internal control procedures to the KNF

Establishment of the following units:

1. An internal audit unit

2. A risk management unit

3. A compliance unit

Requirements for managers occupying key positions or having significant ownership interest:

No requirements

Examples of other requirements:

1. To have own funds at all times

2. To have a programme of activities and a financial plan for at least 3 years, including information on the planned average value of electronic money in circulation

Lending institution

Form of business activity:

Joint stock company, limited liability company

Amount of share capital:

The minimum share capital is EUR 200,000

Internal organisation:

No specific requirements

Requirements for managers occupying key positions or having significant ownership interest:

No criminal record of managers for fiscal offences

Examples of other requirements:

No specific requirements

Regardless of the formal conditions indicated above, the KNF verifies, before giving the authorisation/ licence, whether the presented documents and information enable to assume that the applicant company, its managers and shareholders holding a significant financial interest in the company, provide a guarantee of prudent and stable management of that entity. In case of justified doubts in this respect, the KNF may refuse to grant its consent to start business activity, taking into account the interest of its clients and the stability of the whole sector.

However, despite the lack of direct regulatory requirements, due to the protection of potential clients and the security of the financial system, the KNF verifies the credibility not only of the entities applying for the licence, but also of their significant shareholders. Experience in the establishment and operation of other regulated entities in the financial sector will increase the credibility of such shareholders or investors.