Foreign investors have this year dramatically reduced their share holdings in Danske Bank as they digest news of its involvement in a vast money laundering scandal.
The divestment of bank equities may reflect a loss of confidence in the Danish banking sector in the wake of Danske Bank’s money laundering case, it said.The trust from international investors has certainly been reduced,” governor Lars Rohde told reporters in Copenhagen. He said political initiatives to combat money laundering were paramount to restore foreigners’ trust in Danish banks.
He also said Danish politicians should consider new rules to force banks to block payments if they are suspected of being related to money laundering, similar to current rules governing payments suspected of being linked to financing terrorism. Danske Bank’s annual report shows shareholders from the United States and Canada cut their holdings in the bank during 2018 to 17 percent of Danske’s shares by the end of that year from 24 percent by end-2017.
British investors also reduced their holding in Danske Bank over 2018 from 16 percent to 12 percent, while Danes and other Europeans increased their holdings of Danske Bank shares.Offshore investors about $200 billion in Danish shares, which is up 16% from the beginning of the year, the central bank data showed. In total, they own 52% of Denmark’s stocks.