A recap from Nordea Talks 2019

Last week’s 7th annual Nordea Talks in Copenhagen welcomed some 60 participants representing international financial institutions and banking peers to learn more of Nordea's operations and business areas.

Full agenda of Nordea Talks 2019, speaker and topic:

Stefan Löhr, Head of FIG
– Opening remarks
Henrik Käll, Global Head of Markets Sales & Distribution
– Embracing the future in Markets
Helge J. Pedersen, Group Chief Economist
– Nordic economy – the Nordics in brief
Patrik Havander, Head of TxB Strategy & Commercial Excellence
– Commercial excellence in Transaction Banking
Mark Kandborg, Group Treasurer, Head of Treasury & ALM
– Managing Capital, Funding and Liquidity efficiently in a fast changing environment
Thina Margrethe Saltvedt, Chief Analyst (Ph.D.), Sustainable Finance
– Sustainable finance and green energy transition


Nordea Talks 2019

Nordea Talks 2019 is an annual international bank event arranged by Nordea’s International Financial Institutions Group (FIG International).

Nordea’s Stefan Löhr, Head of Financial Institutions Group, held the welcoming remarks and outlined Nordea’s overall ambition to simplify and focus its operations to the Nordic core markets and become an even better bank for our customers. Among several Nordea initiatives, highlights in the last twelve months, said Stefan, included becoming a European bank regulated by ECB, the decision to sell the shares in Luminor and the completion of the acquisition of Gjensidige Bank in Norway.

To further serve our international customers better, Nordea pursued the registration with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the National Futures Association (NFA) to obtain a U.S. Swap Dealer license receiving it in January this year. This will allow Nordea to better support our international customers and expand our derivatives business the audience learnt.

Stefan’s final remark before giving the stage to Henrik Käll, Head of Sales & Distribution at Nordea Markets, was to underline that these strategic decisions were made to become the obvious Nordic counterpart, both for transaction flows relating to Nordea’s large base of Nordic clients with export and import businesses but also for banks and institutions seeking access to the Nordic market and Nordea’s strong trading and research platform.

Nordea Talks 2019

Nordea Talks 2019

Market disruptors


Henrik raised the topic of market disruptors and how banking is a business in transformation. Several market disruptors were outlined such as new capital and funding requirements, strengthened regulatory focus, digitalisation, margin compression and commoditisation of products to name a few.

As we see a continued increase of new entrants to financial markets, there is a need for banks to reinvent business models and refocus on core strengths and our core client base. “Let us be mindful that we have a very strong position to win new business,” said Henrik “But, we must be selective in what opportunities we target, and assure that we are fully coordinated towards our customers and the opportunities we strive to win with joint efforts.

“We must be selective in what opportunities we target and assure that we are fully coordinated towards our customers,” Henrik added.

Economic Outlook

Helge J. Pedersen at Nordea Talks 2019

Nordea’s Chief Economist Helge J. Pedersen shared his economic outlook and put emphasis on his key message – prepare for a slowdown as disruptive forces are in play. Helge provided four headlines to support his key message:

  • Trade disputes and sanctions are the new black between the US and rest of the world
  • Signs of a dampening of global growth
  • The Nordics are not isolated from the rest of the world
  • Central banks have become very dovish

No economic outlook would be complete without a mention of US president Donald Trump’s twitter feed. Helge made a point of how the US president tweets that trade wars are good and provided evidence of the opposite by listing a few points to stress that trade is good:

  • Increased productivity by improving resource allocation
  • Increasing scale and specialization
  • Encouraging innovation activities
  • Facilitating knowledge transfer
  • Fostering the expansion of more productive firms and the exit of the least productive
  • If growth in world trade is restored it could potentially lift productivity growth by around 0.2% per annum
  • The benefits of greater trade do not affect all parts of the economy and society equally and the associated income redistribution and reallocation of resources has also likely affected the level of political and social opposition to freer trade which has grown in Europe and North America in recent years.

Putting Trump’s tweets aside, Helge focused on the top worry of the public and a recent Pew Research Center study; stating that climate change is the biggest worry. That was followed by the threat of the Islamic militant group known as ISIS, to put matters into perspective.

For the financial markets, climate change poses a real risk to financial stability and looking back at last year alone, we can conclude that the 10 largest climate disasters eroded the global economy to the value of $90bn, Helge said. To further address the impact of climate change on the financial markets, Helge invited our expert on this topic, Thina Margarete Saltvedt, Chief Analyst in Sustainable Finance and her thoughts are shared here.



Prepare for a slowdown – disruptive forces are in play

Helge J. Pedersen

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