OP-Pohjola wealth management earnings jump 125%

Finnish financial group OP-Pohjola has reported a 124.9% increase in pre-tax earnings from its wealth management business in the first two quarters of 2013, compared to the same period last year.

Pre-tax earnings were €77m against €34m for the period. Over the full year 2012 the business reported earnings of €101m.

By contrast, banking operations generated pre-tax earnings that were some 22% lower than the same period a year ago: €193m versus €247m.

The non-life insurance business grew pre-tax earnings by 81.7%, to €99m from €54m.

Reijo Karhinen, executive chairman and CEO of the OP-Pohjola group, said the numbers were “higher than expected”, and added that the group expects full year earnings to be better than last year.

Appeal for calm

Karhinen added to his statement on the achieved financials by asking for a “peaceful work environment” for Finland’s banks, which feel they are under an unsettling burden of regulatory change.

Policymakers should implement already agreed regulatory changes quickly, and hold off on any new changes, so that banks in Finland can operate in a way that would encourage economic growth in the economy, he said.

“There is a clear correlation between banks’ ability and willingness for financing on the one hand and economic growth on the other. This has again been proven by recent figures concerning Southern and Central Europe. Both Finland and the rest of Europe urgently need to get on a path of economic growth. Banks play a key role in securing economic growth. The future of the economy is largely dependent on how well banks are able to operate. In order that economic growth can be given a boost, banks should now be offered a “peaceful work environment”. Quick decisions should now be made on the content of the regulatory initiatives currently under preparation. Decision-makers should refrain from imposing any new burden on banks. A public, calming promise would rebuild an atmosphere of trust and contribute to economic growth.”

“The next few months will be a crucial period for Finnish economic policy decisions. The labour market and the Government must find the means and willingness to make the necessary decisions. We can no longer just pick the easy way out. Many of the crisis-ridden countries in Southern Europe that have been criticised have already taken the corrective measures that still remain unresolved in Finland.”


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