Nordea’s Board of Directors has proposed to the Annual General Meeting to move Nordea’s headquarters and parent company from Sweden to the Banking Union, placing the headquarters in Finland, which is already a member of the European Banking Union.
Nordea has deep roots in all the Nordic countries and we are the result of a merger of over 300 Nordic banks. But like all companies, we need to stay relevant in a changing world and today we are a company that is inspired by the spirit of our legacy, while adapting in a changing environment.
Nordea started the process to simplify its legal structure two years ago in 2016 by changing the Danish, Finnish and Norwegian subsidiary banks to branches. This process was completed at the beginning of 2017, with the support of Nordea’s shareholders. Several benefits have already been realised.
The proposal by the Board to move Nordea into the Banking Union is the result of a comprehensive analysis, so the assessment process has been thorough.
There are several good reasons why the Board is now suggesting moving into the Banking Union:
- First of all, Nordea is a unique pan-Nordic bank with an international structure and a balance sheet approximately twice the size of the GDP of any of the Nordic economies. As one of the largest and strongest banks in Europe, we believe it is an advantage to be regulated on a group level by the strongest supervisor in Europe, ie the European Central Bank.
- As a multinational bank, joining a common multinational framework like the one of the Banking Union means that we can run Nordea’s business under the same regulatory framework as our European peers. This creates more predictability and stable business conditions for Nordea and our long-term planning and investments. With predictable rules and regulations, more time can be spent on developing our services to customers as this is most important to us. We make large investments in our digital offering so that we can be a better bank for our customers – more personal, always available and easy to deal with.
- Finland, being part of our home market, is the only country in the Nordics that is already part of the Banking Union and is therefore our natural choice.
- Since several of the new banking regulations come into effect in 2018-19, we strongly believe the timing to move now is right.
- As the move is good for Nordea’s strategic planning, financial position and long-term profitability, we are certain that it is equally good for our customers as well as employees in the long term.
- Ultimately, our objective is to create a stronger and better bank and continue to develop our business as we always have in Sweden, in Norway, in Denmark and in Finland.
None of our customers, neither personal customers nor the largest corporate customers, are expected to notice any difference in how we serve them on a daily basis as a result of the move. The move of our headquarters does not impact how and where we take decisions in relation to our individual customers. We will be just as close to our customers as we have always been. We will also continue to interact and contribute to the societies in which we are active, just as we have done before.
We are by far the biggest bank in the Nordics, being the tenth largest economy in the world. We are one of the highest ranked banks in Europe according to credit rating agencies, and we want to continue to hold that position. With 9.6 million household customers and by supporting 580,000 corporates and institutions we help young people get their first homes, entrepreneurs fulfil their dreams and corporates develop their businesses. We are simply a key enabler for the Nordic countries to grow and develop.
As a bank, we are local, national and Nordic. That’s our identity, that’s who we are, and we are acknowledging our identity by taking this initiative. We are proud to be a bank that can make courageous decisions we believe are in the best interests of our customers, employees and owners.
We will therefore ask our shareholders to support this decision with their consent at our Annual General Meeting on 15 March.