SEB Commits to Sweden Amid Regulatory Changes

By Dominic Chopping Features Dow Jones Newswires

Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB (SHB-B.SK) said Wednesday it will remain based in Sweden following peer Nordea AB's (NDA.SK) recent decision to move its headquarters to Finland to take advantage of less stringent regulation.

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"For avoidance of doubt; SEB is a Nordic bank and will remain domiciled in Sweden," Chief Executive Johan Torgeby said. "The importance of a level playing field between banks in different countries must again be stressed."

The Swedish government has proposed increasing the fee banks pay to help cover the cost of supporting financial institutions that get into trouble, arguing that bumper profits within the country's growing financial-services industry justify them paying a higher "resolution fee."

This year, SEB expects to pay 1.9 billion Swedish kronor ($234 million) in regulatory fees, from SEK1.4 billion last year.

The bank posted a rise in third-quarter net profit, as its mortgage portfolio continued to grow while large corporate customers took advantage of attractive capital markets to refinance.

Nordic and German large corporate demand for traditional bank lending, as well as Swedish small and medium enterprise loan demand, remained subdued in the quarter, while equity capital market and IPO activity was strong, it said. Lower market volatility reduced customers' demand for risk-management services.

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The Stockholm-based bank posted a net profit of SEK4.24 billion for the three months ended Sept. 30, compared with SEK4.15 billion a year earlier, beating expectations of SEK4.17 billion, according to a FactSet poll.

Net interest income rose to SEK5.08 billion from SEK4.66 billion, while loan losses rose to SEK284 million from SEK197 million.

The bank's common equity Tier 1 ratio--a key measure of financial strength--stood at 19.2% at the end of the quarter, up from 18.6% a year earlier.

Write to Dominic Chopping at dominic.chopping@wsj.com; Twitter: @domchopping @WSJNordics

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 25, 2017 02:18 ET (06:18 GMT)