Nordea shareholders vote to move bank's HQ to Helsinki

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Stockholm (AFP)

Shareholders in Nordea, the Nordic region's biggest bank, voted Thursday overwhelmingly in favour of relocating the bank's headquarters from Stockholm to Helsinki, which is in the eurozone and will put the bank under the European banking union.

A total of 97 percent of shareholders voted in favour of the move at the bank's annual general meeting in Stockholm, Nordea said.

"If everything goes as planned, and if the relevant authorities in the two countries give their approval, then we expect the move to be completed by October 1, 2018," spokesman Claes Eliasson told AFP.

Nordea announced in September 2017 that it wanted to leave Stockholm after the Swedish government announced it would raise by almost 40 percent a special bank tax designed to shield the country from a future financial crisis.

Sweden is not in the eurozone, and Nordea wants to put itself "on a par with its European peers", the bank's chairman of the board, Bjorn Wahlroos, argued in announcing the move.

Since the 2008 financial crisis, Swedish banks have been required to contribute to a specially-created fund to be used to bail out a bank or financial institution in the event of a collapse.

A move to Finland would put Nordea under the European banking union, created in the wake of the 2010 eurozone crisis.

The top banks of its member states are placed under the supervision of the European Central Bank, and the banks pay into a joint fund to cover the cost of a potential bailout.