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Nordea’s big-little brave-boring move

Nordea, which gained shareholder approval to move its headquarters into the eurozone in March, has made much of its decision.

The move to Finland was hailed by chair Björn Wahlroos as “an important strategic step in positioning Nordea on a par with its European peers.” 

The Swedish regulator, the FSB, is decidedly less enthusiastic. 

Martin Noréus, deputy director general, told attendees at a Euromoney conference in Stockholm on March 22 that the move will mean big changes for the regulator. He also highlighted the limitation the move will place on FSB’s ability to influence outcomes should the bank get in trouble. 

And he noted that “clearly the whole debate around the relocation was triggered by the level of resolution fees,” though other considerations were surely taken into account.

Björn Wahlroos

Indeed, Wahlroos says the move is “in the best interests of Nordea’s customers, shareholders and employees”.  Rodney Alfven, head of investor relations at the bank, told attendees at the Euromoney conference that “I realise that we have taken a quite strange or unusual decision — brave, you could say — to move the headquarters.”

So, the two employees Nordea is sending to Finland should be very proud.

“We will basically move two people: one because he has to and one because he wants to,” Alfven said.