A financial sector tax hike in Sweden may result in an increase in businesses' interest in relocating jobs to the Baltic states, as the necessary competencies exist here, Estonian financial sector body FinanceEstonia said.
"This is not the first time that the subject of tax increases is raised in Sweden and it could also be part of a tax policy game," Chairman of the Board at FinanceEstonia Rauno Klettenberg told BNS. "We also cannot ignore the fact that when it comes to taxes, a difference between the Baltics and Sweden has existed for a long time."
He noted that, as a result, the argument of lower labor costs was not the only factor influencing the number of banking jobs.
"It's true that, theoretically, a potential tax hike in Sweden's financial sector would offer the banks active in Estonia and the Baltic states an opportunity to have jobs transferred here," said the board chairman, adding that he was convinced that the Baltics possessed sufficient competencies for this to happen successfully.
"Positive examples that we have on our market exist in the fields of back-office and support services, for instance, where jobs have been relocated already," cited Klettenberg. "The final decision, however, will be made by the financial institutions themselves, based on their strategies."
The Swedish Bankers' Association has said that the planned tax targeting the country's finance industry would put some 16,000 jobs at risk.
Hans Lindberg, the association's managing director, said that the extra payroll tax could drive Swedish banks look more to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Four large Swedish banks already employ a total of 13,000 people in the Baltics, where labor costs make up just one-third of those in Sweden, he said.
Editor: Editor: Aili Vahtla