Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Sweden’s Biggest Bank Just Threatened To Leave The Country If The Government's "Shocking" Fee Goes Through
Via Business Insider: The current Swedish government is not making many friends in the private sector right now, having recently had companies like Norwegian and Spotifty threaten to move their operations from Sweden due to regulation or the lack thereof. The Swedish financial sector is now locking horns with the government as well. Earlier this year, the Swedish government put forward a controversial tax proposal, that would levy an additional 15 per cent tax on the salary costs of companies that provide financial services. The government eventually backed out, but proposed instead raised banking fees that would go into the Resolution reserve - a pool of buffer money reserved for banking crises. The banking sector is not happy about the proposal; in particular Nordea, Sweden’s largest bank, which is now saying it’s considering to move its headquarters away from the country. If the Swedish government's proposal were to become reality, the probability of a move is “highly, highly likely” says Nordea's CEO Casper von Koskull to Dagens Industri. von Koskull describes the fee proposal as “shocking”, because of the amount of fees that would be incurred on Nordea, the largest financial group in Scandinavia. According to Nordea, its payable fees would skyrocket tenfold, from today's 0.5 billion krona per year, to 5.5-6 billon ($620-670m) in 2019. Moreover, Nordea was already looking at raised fees before the current proposal. “The resolution fee alone causes Sweden to have different rules than the rest of Europe. This naturally means that we need to consider and investigate other alternatives”, von Koskull told Di. The Nordea CEO didn’t disclose where those alternatives for new headquarters might be. The government’s proposal is seen by many financial sector professionals as cutting against its commitment in 2015, to make Stockholm one of the five biggest financial centres in Europe by 2020. And if Nordea actually were to leave and remove hundreds of jobs from Sweden, the question the government surely needs to ask itself, is it all worth it?