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Nordic banks aim for cross-border growth

In global terms, the Nordic region does not register highly in private banking. In fact, industry consultants estimate the size of the whole Nordic private banking market is still smaller than that of Spain. This has discouraged international banks from establishing businesses there, and has left the Nordic banks and their private banking arms to fight it out for the small customer base. But it's a growth market. The number of affluent Nordic individuals is estimated to be set to increase by some 5% by 2007. Banks are trying to develop a pan-Nordic presence to attract as many of these clients as possible. In addition, the Nordic private banks are realizing the importance of pushing out to the rest of Europe and Asia to serve ex-pats and even compete for non-Nordic clients. Euromoney asks the heads of the private banking businesses of SEB and Nordea how they are managing for growth.


Q&A with Eira Palin-Lehtinen, Nordea's Nordic head of savings and wealth management, and Flemming Sorenson, head of Nordea Luxembourg, the group's international private banking business. How did 2004 fare in terms of new business?

Palin-Lehtinen: 2004 was in general a very good year for our private banking organization. Assets under management in private banking increased by 16 % in 2004 and were €35.2 billion at the end of the year of which €7.4 billion is in the European Private Banking operations. Nordic Private Banking attracted net inflows of €2.6 billion during 2004.

How are you expanding the bank's reach across the Nordic region?

P-L: For the moment we have 66 units across the region, and we do plan to open some more. But for us growth isn't just about opening new units. Rather it is a question of developing the businesses in each country. For historical reasons, our Danish and Finnish operations are our largest. They both have around €12 billion in private client assets under management.

The Swedish operation was set up five years ago, and that has around €4.5

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