The Nordic region's biggest financial group, Nordea, announced on Wednesday evening that it will move its headquarters from Stockholm to Helsinki. The decision made by the board of directors in Copenhagen ends months of speculation.
The group says that the move will not affect operations in its four Nordic home markets or in day-to-day functions from customers' perspective. It adds that "only a limited number of employees" will be affected.
The move will be carried out by merging the Swedish-based Nordea Bank AB into a new Finnish subsidiary. This is expected to take place in the second half of 2018, subject to approval from regulators and shareholders.
Finland only Nordic member of EU banking union
Nordea Bank suggested that the main deciding factor was Finland's membership in the European Union's banking union, which was set up in 2012 after the eurozone crisis.
Finland is so far the only Nordic country that has signed on to the agreement. This summer Sweden and Denmark indicated that they would consider joining the union.
"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," said Finnish board chairman Björn Wahlroos in a statement.
"The Board's decision to initiate the re-domiciliation of the parent company to Finland is the outcome of six months of careful study and analysis of the competitive conditions and challenges facing Nordea," he added.
Nordea CEO Casper von Koskull – also a Finn – pledged that the company "will keep on working with the Nordic operating model in the same way as we do today" and that it remains " relentlessly committed to all of our four home markets".
Nordea shares will still be listed on bourses in Stockholm, Helsinki and Copenhagen.
The company was originally formed in 1995 through the merger of Finland's Merita Bank with Nordbanken in Sweden and two others in Norway and Denmark.