Sweden's HQ Bank goes into liquidation
Small Swedish investment and private bank group HQ Bank AB went into liquidation yesterday after losing its operating licence and failing to find a buyer over the weekend.
The closure of the bank, which shut its trading arm in June following big losses, caused few ripples in the wider banking sector, although HQ's shares plummeted 80pc.
The liquidator said he aimed to find a buyer for the bank, while the company said: "The process for the forced liquidation of HQ Bank has begun."
Sweden's Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA) cancelled HQ's bank licence on Saturday, saying the bank had broken "some of the most basic rules".
It said these included unacceptable shortcomings in controlling its trading operation and taking "such large risks that the company endangered its own survival".
The FSA saw little risk of contagion. "We consider that financial stability is not under threat. HQ Bank is a relatively small bank," the FSA said in a statement.
The FSA said HQ Bank had about 20,000 investor accounts. Some 900 clients had deposits over the level guaranteed by the State, which is up to €50,000, it added.
HQ closed its trading unit this year at a cost of €128m, blaming losses on the financial crisis and market upheavals.
Swedish banks' main problems in the global financial crisis arose from their exposure to the crisis-hit Baltic states, but banks have of late painted a brighter picture in the region.
Swedish bank shares showed little reaction to the HQ news. The largest bank, Nordea, was off 0.8pc, SEB was down 0.02pc, Handelsbanken edged 0.15pc lower while Swedbank was up 0.7pc