Nordea, Scandinavia’s largest bank, has announced yesterday that it would relocate its headquarters to Finland, severely impacting Stockholm’s bid to become a financial hub.
September 6, 2017, Reuters
The move, aimed at cutting the costs of complying with Swedish regulations, is the first time since the 2008 financial crisis that a major bank has shifted its headquarters to avoid tougher rules.
Nordea said the move to Finland, where it would be supervised by the European Central Bank, would save about 1 billion euros in the longer term despite extra short-term costs.
It said the bank wanted a level playing field with rivals supervised by the ECB, which has since 2014 sought to establish common standards across the euro zone.
“The Single Supervisory Mechanism is an appropriate regulator for a bank of our size and complexity,” Nordea CEO Casper Von Koskull told reporters on a conference call.
The bank, the ninth biggest by market value in Europe, said in March it could move HQ if the government hiked fees to cover the cost of winding up banks that fail, prompting the center coalition to soften some terms.
Swedish Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson, a member of the Social Democrats, said she was disappointed but said tax revenues would not be affected. She said Sweden was looking at joining the European banking union, but a decision could take years.
“They want the security that the banking union provides, and that leaves Finland as the alternative that can provide that,” Exane BNP Paribas analyst Andreas Hakansson said.
Nordea shares closed broadly unchanged.