Tue, May 02, 2017 - Page 10 News List

Nordic countries compete to headquarter Nordea Bank

TAPPING EUROPE:If the bank chooses to relocate to Helsinki, the Nordic region’s only global systemically important bank would be based in the eurozone


As Nordea Bank AB tells Sweden it would move its headquarters from the largest Nordic economy unless the regulatory environment is relaxed, Finland and Denmark are stepping up their charm offensives.

Danish Minister of Economic and Business Affairs Brian Mikkelsen on Friday made it clear he wants Nordea based in his country, and underscored his commitment to a stable regulatory environment in which banks and other companies do not face stricter requirements.

“Of course we’re ready to welcome companies to Denmark that can contribute to growth and create jobs,” Mikkelsen told reporters in an e-mail. “Nordea can do that.”

The bank represents “thousands of jobs in an area that’s interesting to us, in the financial industry and fintech,” he wrote

On Saturday, Finnish Minister of Finance Petteri Orpo said the administration has put together a working group to try to entice Nordea to Helsinki.

If the bank chooses the Finnish capital, the Nordic region’s only global systemically important bank would be based in the eurozone.

Speaking to state broadcaster YLE TV1, Orpo said Finland’s working group included his ministry, the central bank and the regulator, among others.

“I believe that for Nordea, Finland, as a member of the banking union, would be an excellent platform for operations,” he said.

He also pledged a “predictable and stable fiscal policy.”

“Should this be successful and Nordea moves its headquarters into Finland, that would be a key signal that our policy is successful,” Orpo said.

“Finland is very serious about this,” he said, adding that the working group is “reviewing the matter from various perspectives.”

Nordea chief executive officer Casper von Koskull said management plans to announce where to place its headquarters by the summer.

There is a “very high” likelihood Nordea would move from Stockholm unless the Swedish government backtracks on its plans to raise the cost of banking in the country, he said.

Sweden wants to increase bank fees to the country’s resolution reserve, with no cap on how big it can grow. The banking association calculates Sweden will have amassed 222 billion kronor (US$25.11 billion at current exchange rates) to deal with troubled lenders by 2032.

That is 10 times more than it would have had if Sweden had used standard EU bank union rules.

The Swedish government has said that it needs to create additional safeguards to protect taxpayers from a financial system that is about four times the size of the economy.

If Nordea were to move to Denmark, the country’s regulator would be responsible for bank assets that would be more than five times the country’s GDP. In Finland, the regulatory burden would be shared within the single supervisory mechanism of the eurozone.

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