SWEDEN – As a prelude to a possible merger between Swedish banks, Svenska Enskilda Banken (SEB) and FöreningsSparbanken (Swedbank), the former has removed paragraph 12 from its articles of association, which stated that the bank could not change its name – a precursor to any merger deal.

Gunilla Wikman, head of group communications at SEB, says the decision was made because the bank wants to change its name, which would not have been possible under the old rules.

SEB will hold another meeting later in the year to decide on the fusion with Swedbank.
“There will be one more extraordinary general meeting where the merger decision will be taken, this one was just a formality,” says Wikman.
“It’s part of the process. The shareholders will make the decision, the date hasn’t been decided yet, but it will probably be at the end of the summer,” she adds.

In a separate move, the bank has decided to offer ten new externally managed funds to its clients. The funds include Fleming’s Asian funds, Mercury’s and Goldman Sachs’s global portfolios and Fidelity’s European retail funds. The move doubles the number of third party retail fund products offered by the bank.

The merger would create a giant asset manager in the Baltic Sea area, with SEK1.3trn (e140bn) of assets under management. The new company would also include Robur, the asset management arm of Swedbank and the manager of the most popular funds in the national premium pension system (PPM).