An initial country-by-country look at Danish banks

Few things in the international tax community are as vehemently discussed right now as country-by-country reporting. Don’t know what country-by-country reporting is? That’s for another post. (Google should provide sufficient answers).

Often forgotten, however, is that we already have country-by-country reporting (to some extent) for banks and certain other financial institutions, mandated by the EU CRD IV. Analyses published elsewhere by tax justice campaigners have used the publicized reports to highlight UK and French banks’ utilisation of tax havens.

I was surprised to see that no analyses had been published (to my knowledge) on the first country-by-country reports from Danish banks, mandated by the EU CRD IV. So why not take a look at it here?

The first batch of reports cover the 2014 and 2015 fiscal years. To get an initial look, I extracted data from the annual reports of the four largest banks in Denmark: Danske Bank, Nordea, Jyske Bank and Sydbank:

Capture

I will be looking into the data in greater detail, but for now, some initial observations (subject to the usual disclaimers*, of course):

  • It is clear that the banks do not utilise secrecy jurisdictions to an extent comparable to French or UK banks. (Many reasons may be for that – also for another post).
  • Besides the close-to-home markets (Scandinavia) and large foreign markets (UK, Russia, US, Germany), the banks as a group book most profits in Luxembourg, Singapore, Lithuania and Ireland.
  • Employees in some countries conventionally discussed as benefactors of profit shifting – such as Singapore and Luxembourg – are generally more ‘productive’ than employees in high-tax countries – such as Denmark, Sweden and Norway. On average, employees in the former group generate 1,25 times the income and 2 times the profit of employees in the latter group. However, employees in Switzerland and Gibraltar, for instance, are among the least productive on average.
  • On average, the most ‘productive’ employees are based in the US (generated €830k profits/year – Nordea only) as well as the UK (€521k) followed by Singapore (€457k) and Luxembourg (€336). For comparison, an average Danish employee (the vast majority) generated €114k.

Questions and comments are welcome. Or go explore the data yourself:

The full data is available through Google Sheets here.

* The production of data across banks might not be completely comparable due to differences in methods; there are questions regarding the sample size; the analysis was not cross-checked, reviewed or validated by anyone else; etc.

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