Michael McDonald is Managing Director, Brown Brothers Harriman (Poland) Sp. z o.o. The US financial giant is set to open a major business centre in Krakow. We spoke to Mr McDonald about this new enterprise and his new home city.
Krakow Post: What does Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. do? What role will the new Krakow Business Centre play in BBH’s global operation?
Michael McDonald: Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH) is a privately-held global financial institution, where 41 partners own and manage the firm.
The new Krakow business centre will be an integral part of BBH’s global operation to support our largest business line, Investor Services. This comprises global custody, fund accounting, fund administration and other services related to asset servicing. We assist our clients (primarily asset managers and financial institutions) in processing cross-border securities trades, keeping financial assets safe and servicing the associated portfolios. In addition to the operational functions we work strategically with our clients to assist them with their global business objectives.
Our 5,000 colleagues operate from 17 cities throughout North America, Europe and Asia, and we are responsible for in excess of 3 trillion USD in client assets. We are known for our high quality client service and working strategically with clients to help them meet their business objectives.
Our new Krakow office will work in conjunction with our other European offices, and will represent a significant expansion of our technology, operations, and client service resources in the European time-zone. We believe that bringing these functions together in Krakow will provide a platform for further innovation and service development.
KP: Why did BBH choose Krakow over other locations in Poland?
MM: We felt that Krakow and the surrounding region have demonstrated a strong track record of growth over recent years, offers a supportive business infrastructure, and allows us access to a well-educated and high-potential talent pool. We believe that Krakow also offers us attractive growth opportunities.
KP: Where will the Business Centre be located?
MM: Our offices are currently located in Buma Square Business Park, with capacity for over 200 people. We are finalising contracts now for a larger space, close to the city centre, which we plan on moving into in 2013.
KP: What advice would you give to job seekers interested in joining BBH?
MM: We are looking for a mix of high-potential graduates and more experienced candidates. For more experienced candidates we are looking for experience in financial services and specific technology areas, with strong leadership and client service skills.
It is important to remember that we are building a true business centre not simply a back office processing centre and are therefore looking for individuals seeking longer-term career opportunities with BBH.
We are offering a global, collaborative environment where employees are given full training and career development opportunities. We are looking forward to welcoming employees who are looking to be part of creating our future. If this sounds like you then please get in touch!
KP: Where are you from?
MM: I am from Boston, but have lived outside the United States now for five years.
KP: How long have you worked for BBH, and what attracted you to the company?
MM: I have worked for BBH for close to 20 years. Prior to taking on this role in Poland I was responsible for our office in Dublin, Ireland. I also spent several years in BBH’s Boston and New York offices as a senior relationship manager, and then headed up the Global Custody and Cash Division in Boston.
What attracted me, and continues to attract me to BBH, is the quality of the people I work with, the advantages of our partnership structure which creates a great sense of collaboration globally, and the opportunities presented by such a global and well respected organisation.
KP: What has been the most satisfying moment of your career to date?
MM: Definitely the opportunity to open and manage our business centre in Krakow – BBH’s first European office that brings together client service, systems and operations.
KP: What are you looking forward to about working in Krakow?
MM: The challenge of building a new office from scratch, and being able to immerse myself at the same time in a new culture and exploring this beautiful country.
KP: What is your favourite thing to do in Krakow?
MM: At the moment my favourite thing to do is just discovering this city and culture with my family as we start to settle in and learn about our new home!