I see that Nordea, one of the 10 largest lenders in Europe, is set to move its headquarters from Sweden to Finland to enable the Nordic region’s biggest bank to base itself inside the Eurozone’s banking union.
Nordea has been in conflict with the Swedish government over tax increases and regulation and we’ve heard rumblings of a move to either Helsinki or Copenhagen for months now.
It’s most likely that Helsinki won out because Finland is already part of the banking union, meaning its biggest banks are directly supervised by the European Central Bank rather than national regulators.
Björn Wahlroos, Nordea’s chairman, noted, “We see the move as an important strategic step in positioning Nordea on a par with its European peers. The level playing field and predictable regulatory environment offered by the banking union are, we believe, in the best interest of Nordea’s customers, shareholders and employees.”
The cross-Scandinavian move – which will most likely take place late in 2018 – should save Nordea €1bn in fees. Analysts have also estimated that moving the headquarters could boost profits by up to €330m and free up as much as €6bn of capital.
However, it must be asked what impact the international move will have on customers and employees. Nordea officials acknowledge that Copenhagen boasts a better standard of living and higher international profile for employees, but stuck with their choice of Helsinki thanks to its presence in the banking union nevertheless.
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