Ethical business conduct and compliance with applicable laws and regulations are fundamental aspects of Nordea’s corporate culture.
Compliance risk is the risk of business not being conducted according to legal and regulatory requirements, market standards and business ethics. Proper compliance is one of the main guardians of the conscience and ethics of a financial services business.
We look at compliance not just as something we have to do to earn and retain our “licence to operate,” but as something we want to do, because ultimately, it builds trust with our customers and makes society safer.
Operational risk management and compliance are an integral part of everyday business at Nordea. The substantial amount of new directives and regulations aimed at securing banks’ stability and customer protection demonstrate how vital strong and well-functioning banks are to society. For us, making sure that we carry out all necessary steps to secure compliance in every customer interaction is the only possible way to ensure strong relationships.
The Board of Directors of Nordea Bank AB bears the ultimate responsibility for the Group’s compliance with laws and regulations, with the Board Risk Committee overseeing the management and control of these risks. The Committee regularly reviews the bank’s overall risk management approach, including risk profiles, control framework and assessment of material risk issues.
Managers are responsible for day-to-day oversight of compliance risks. Supported by the Group’s Operational Risk and Compliance function, they identify, assess and mitigate compliance risks. The most significant risks reported from all parts of the Group are consolidated into a Group Risk Map presented to Group Executive Management, the Board Risk Committee and the Board of Directors.
Nordea expects all employees and other partners acting on behalf of Nordea to act with integrity and high ethical standards. Nordea’s Code of Conduct states the bank’s commitment to ethics, honesty and sincerity. In 2011, Nordea issued an Anti-Bribery and Corruption policy with an appendix on gifts, benefits and events. The policy has been written to meet international requirements and national laws such as the UK Bribery Act.
We have an Operational Risk and Compliance Awareness programme which ensures our employees are aware of all policies and commitments, which includes a training module on anti-corruption.
While knowing our customers helps us to provide them with better service, it’s also part of our responsibility as a member of the global banking community. Nordea’s Anti-Money Laundering (AML) work is based on international regulations with the ultimate goal of ensuring that funds from illegal sources cannot be laundered through the banking system or used to finance terrorism or illegal operations of any kind. The purpose of AML is to protect not only the financial system and our customers, but also society at large.
Within Nordea there exist Know Your Customer (KYC) instructions. These provide the framework for ensuring we know whom we are doing business with, where their money comes from, and the purpose of the transactions. Find out more about how we serve our customers.
A robust KYC process is the key element in Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter Terrorist Financing (CTF) control activities and a key element in establishing and maintaining our customer relationships.
We recognise that customers react differently to questions about the origin of cash and the purpose of their business activities. Still, we firmly believe in the importance of requesting such information, and after explaining this to customers, the vast majority are more than happy to cooperate. When difficult situations do arise, branch managers hold debriefing sessions.
In 2012, we introduced a group-wide whistleblowing system, Raise Your Concern, whereby employees can report concerns anonymously and be safely protected from retaliation. The system encourages employees to speak up if they have a serious concern about any misconduct or irregularities, including any action that constitutes a violation of laws or regulations, or of Nordea’s internal policies, instructions or guidelines. It also includes actions that could cause harm to Nordea’s business or reputation, or to the health or security of our employees or customers. It ensures our compliance with the standards set out in the UK Bribery Act and European Banking Authority Guidelines.