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Nordea has decided to move its headquarters to Helsinki reports Dagens Industri. Finland has long been seen as a likely spot for Nordea’s new headquarters as the country is part of the Eurozone’s banking union. “All operations in the home market in the Nordic countries will remain unchanged and from a customer perspective there will be no changes in the daily operations” Nordea writes in a statement. The bank is expecting to save approximately EUR 1 billion as a result of the move which will take place in the second half of 2018. The main reason for the move of the headquarters was the government’s plan to introduce a bank tax, which would protect taxpayers in case of a financial crisis.
Nordea has debated for the past six months whether to move its HQ to Copenhagen or Helsinki. “The Board’s decision to initiate the re-domiciliation of the parent company to Finland is the outcome of six months of careful study and analysis of the competitive conditions and challenges facing Nordea. We see the move as an important strategic step in positioning Nordea on a par with its European peers,” said Björn Wahlroos, Chairman of the Board of Directors, in a press release.
The Minister for Finance Magdalena Andersson (S) is dismayed that Nordea is moving its headquarters from the country but she does not think it is the government’s policies which have led to the bank’s relocation reports Svenska Dagbladet. “Things are going well for Swedish enterprise, which Nordea is an example of, as they made a profit of SEK 40 billion last year,” Andersson said during a press conference. Andersson also said it is not government policies that have scared Nordea away, but rather the fact that Finland is part of the EU banking union and Sweden is not.
Many experts have commented on the move saying it is a hard hit against Stockholm as a banking and finance city, which sends a negative signal regarding the attractiveness of Stockholm as a location for company headquarters. For the government it is also a big loss of prestige. Knut Kainz Rogenrud at Sveriges Television says that in case of Nordea failing, Finland will now have the main responsibility together with all the rest of the countries in the banking union. Lena Apler, Head of the Swedish Fintech Association says the move will be negative for the growing and healthy financial technology sector in Stockholm. “Everyone knows that the further the headquarters are, the harder it is to find financing and partnerships with large financial actors,” Apler told Svenska Dagbladet.