Nordea Bank, the biggest bank in the Nordic countries, has decided to relocate its headquarters to Helsinki, following plans by the Swedish government earlier this year to increase charges on banks. Unlike Finland, Sweden is not in the eurozone or part of the EU’s banking union.
Nordea has estimated that by relocating to Finland it will save about EUR 1 billion in charges compared to remaining in Sweden. According to Björn Wahlroos, chairman of the Board of Directors, Nordea Bank AB, the decision was 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. 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,” he said in a press release.
Helsinki offers competitive location
Nordea compared Stockholm, Copenhagen and Helsinki as possible headquarter locations. Helsinki’s mayor Jan Vapaavuori believes that Nordea choice has great symbolic significance and has been noted by many companies across Europe that are considering their future locations.
“This is a major victory for Helsinki. They would not have come here if Helsinki was not attractive and competitive enough. When Nordea values Helsinki this highly, it also improves the city’s competitive position in other future decision-making” said Vapaavuori in an interview with the Finnish Broadcasting Company.
Stable and attractive business environment
In today’s complex business environment, Finland can offer international companies a very appealing proposition, according to Antti Aumo, Executive Vice President of Finpro.
“Finland is the only country that can offer companies a great Nordic business environment inside the EU’s single market of 700 million consumers, which is also part of the eurozone for ultimate financial stability,” says Aumo. “We are seeing an increased interest toward locating regional headquarters or even European headquarters in Finland. Here, everything just clicks into place, and companies can focus on their business.”
For companies from China, Japan and South Korea, Finland also offers the fastest flight connections to Europe.
Image: Visit Finland