Institution Theme Category Industry
  • BlackRock
  • Governance
  • Strategy & Risk
  • Financial Services
Company Year Market Link
Swedbank AB 2020 N/A https://www.blackrock.com/corporate/literature/press-release/blk-vote-bulletin-swedbank-may-2020.pdf

A high-profile money-laundering scandal came to light in February 2019. Investigations into Swedbank were launched by several authorities (the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA), the Estonian FSA, the Swedish Economic Crime Authority and the US authorities).4 Findings of the Swedish FSA and the Estonian FSA revealed serious deficiencies in Swedbank’s governance of anti-money laundering measures in its Baltic subsidiaries. The Swedish FSA issued a warning and an administrative fine of 4 billion SEK.
Swedbank retained the law firm Clifford Chance to conduct an investigation into Swedbank’s anti -money laundering work covering transactions between 2007 and March 2019, the findings of which were presented on March 23rd, 2020 and confirmed the bank’s deficiencies.6Swedbank noted that the Financial Supervisory Authorities’ conclusions substantially correspond with the bank’s own.7 The timing and outcome of the other investigations is unclear.
Since the 2019 AGM, there has been significant turnover at the Board and Management level with a new Chairman and CEO in place. During our engagement with the Board and Senior Management, including the new Chairman, we discussed a range of topics, including business oversight and risk management, corporate strategy and succession planning. In particular, we sought to further understand how the company was cooperating with the regulatory investigations and what measures were being taken to restore trust and strengthen processes, procedures and culture.

Details

  • Proponent
  • Management
  • Resolution
  • Shareholders are asked to approve the discharge of former Ordinary Board Members Annika Poutiainen, Lars Idermark, Ulrika Francke, Peter Norman, Siv Svensson, Bodil Eriksson, Mats Granryd, Bo Johansson, Anna Mossberg and Magnus Uggla and Discharge of Birgitte Bonnesen as CEO until 28th March 2019
  • Vote
  • AGAINST
  • Rationale
  • N/A
  • Details
  • Given the findings of the Swedish and Estonian FSA investigations and Swedbank’s own internal investigations confirming governance and risk oversight failures related to money-laundering, and the levy of a 4 billion SEK fine, we are voting against the discharge of relevant board members and the former CEO. In doing so, we are holding those individuals accountable for the deficiencies in Swedbank’s governance of its anti-money laundering measures given they served on the board over the period these issues occurred. The new leadership has initiated a number of actions to strengthen its governance, culture and controls, and work is ongoing. We will continue to engage with the company and monitor developments.