Swedish Bank SEB's Improved Capital Leads To Upgrade Of Hybrid Instruments; SEB Affirmed At 'A+/A-1'; Outlook Stable

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1 Research Update: Swedish Bank SEB's Improved Capital Leads To Upgrade Of Hybrid Instruments; SEB Affirmed At 'A+/A-1'; Outlook Stable Primary Credit Analyst: Olivia Fleischmann, Stockholm (46) ; Secondary Contact: Sean Cotten, Stockholm (46) ; Table Of Contents Overview Rating Action Rationale Outlook Ratings Score Snapshot Related Criteria And Research Ratings List JUNE 1,

2 Research Update: Swedish Bank SEB's Improved Capital Leads To Upgrade Of Hybrid Instruments; SEB Affirmed At 'A+/A-1'; Outlook Stable Overview In 2015, Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB's (SEB's) capital improvements enhanced the bank's resilience to increasing economic risks in Sweden, as indicated by the improvement in its risk-adjusted capital ratio to about 10.2% at end-2015 from 9.1% in As such, we are revising up our assessment of the bank's stand-alone credit profile (SACP) to 'a' from 'a-'. We are raising our issue ratings on SEB's subordinated debt to 'BBB+' from 'BBB' and on its junior subordinated debt to 'BBB-' from 'BB+'. We continue to view the Swedish government as supportive of senior unsecured debt issued by its four systemically important banks, including SEB. Therefore, we are affirming our ratings on SEB at 'A+/A-1'. The stable outlook balances our view of increasing economic risks in Sweden, which could weaken SEB's creditworthiness, with SEB's improved capital position and the likelihood of SEB receiving government support if needed. Rating Action On June 1, 2016, S&P Global Ratings raised its issue ratings on Sweden-based Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken's (SEB's) subordinated debt to 'BBB+' from 'BBB' and on its junior subordinated debt to 'BBB-' from 'BB+'. At the same time, we affirmed our 'A+' long-term and 'A-1' short-term counterparty credit ratings on the bank. The outlook is stable. Rationale Today's rating actions reflect our upward reassessment of SEB's stand-alone credit profile (SACP) to 'a' from 'a-', thanks to the improving trend that we observed in the bank's capital position over This development has led to increased capital levels that are consistent with our strong capital and earnings category. Our risk-adjusted capital (RAC) ratio for SEB stood at 10.15% at year-end 2015 (against 9.1% in 2014), and we anticipate that the ratio will continue to strengthen to 10.5%-11.0% in the next months. This improvement is supported by SEB's strong average pre-dividend earnings generation capacity at around Swedish krona (SEK) 17 billion ( 1.8 billion) JUNE 1,

3 annually. We expect that the RAC ratio will be further supported by potentially increasing regulatory requirements and SEB's commitment to keeping a management buffer of 150 basis points (bps) of common equity tier 1 capital above these requirements (the buffer was about 340 bps over the requirement of 15.7% at the end of the first quarter of 2016). The positive development in SEB's capital over the past few years has been primarily supported by improvements in the bank's operating efficiency and low credit losses, alongside the bank's issuance of a US$1.1 billion additional tier 1 capital instrument to strengthen its capital base, which, in addition to another grandfathered instrument, accounts for approximately 10% of our total-adjusted capital (TAC). In addition, the bank has seen some improvements in its risk-weighted assets as a result of mortgages representing an increased share of credit risk. We do not include any additional hybrid capital issuance in our capital projections for SEB. However, it is possible that the ratios could be supported further by additional issuance over the next two years. This would most likely be driven by potential increases in regulatory requirements, whose magnitude remains unclear at this stage. We expect SEB to continue to focus on improving its cost-to-income ratio, which over the past few quarters has averaged just under 50% since the bank implemented its revised strategy of strengthening its core businesses in Coupled with its focus on solid profit growth across its diversified product offerings, SEB has seen strong returns, and we expect our three-year average earnings buffer, which measures the capacity of a bank's earnings to cover normalized losses, to improve to bps. This, in addition to our view that the bank will continue to pay out approximately 50% of profits, enables risk-weighted asset growth that supports our RAC forecast of 10.5%-11.0% over our two-year rating horizon. Rising economic imbalances represent an area of concern for Sweden, SEB's primary market. If such trends persist, we could begin to see heightened economic risks for the Swedish banking sector. As this would represent increased risk for SEB's balance-sheet exposures and could lead to difficult operating conditions, we could ultimately revise down the anchor for banks operating in Sweden, including SEB, to 'bbb+' from 'a-'. In such a scenario, SEB's RAC ratio could drop by about 50 bps on the back of higher risk-weights applied in our model. However, we anticipate that the potential negative impact on the bank's SACP would be offset by the notches of uplift we apply to the ratings to reflect our view of extraordinary government support. As such, the 'A+' rating on SEB would likely remain unchanged. Outlook The stable outlook on the long-term rating on SEB balances increasing economic risks in SEB's core market with our view that the Swedish government will remain supportive of its domestic systemically important banks. Our stable outlook also incorporates our anticipation the bank will have a RAC JUNE 1,

4 ratio of 10.5%-11.0% over the next months, consistent with our revised strong assessment of the bank's capital and earnings. Moreover, this incorporates our view that SEB's asset quality and loss experience will continue to be in line with that of its core Nordic peers. We anticipate stable credit losses of about 10 bps of total lending, which we believe will be reinforced by the bank's continued focus on maintaining low earnings volatility, in addition to the supportive interest rate environment. Our view is futher underpinned by SEB's established franchise value that enables the bank to deliver consistently solid profitability metrics. If the negative trends we see for Swedish economic risk caused us to revise down the bank's anchor to 'bbb+' from 'a-', we could lower our assessment of SEB's SACP. If we were to lower SEB's SACP, we would also lower the ratings on both SEB's subordinated and junior subordinated instruments, as we use the SACP as the starting point for additional notching when rating such instruments. However, this would most likely lead us to apply a two-notch uplift for government support to the long-term rating on the bank, which would remain unchanged at 'A+'. This means we currently regard the possibility of a negative rating action on the long-term rating on the bank as remote. A negative action could arise, however, if we see a lower likelihood of extraordinary government support for SEB over the next two years, which we also view as unlikely. We believe that a positive rating action is unlikely over the next months. Ratings Score Snapshot To From Issuer Credit Rating A+/Stable/A-1 A+/Stable/A-1 SACP a a- Anchor a- a- Business Position Adequate (0) Adequate (0) Capital and Earnings Strong (+1) Adequate (0) Risk Position Adequate (0) Adequate (0) Funding and Average and (0) Average and (0) Liquidity Adequate Adequate Support GRE Support 0 0 Group Support 0 0 Sovereign Support Additional Factors JUNE 1,

5 Related Criteria And Research Related Criteria Quantitative Metrics For Rating Banks Globally: Methodology And Assumptions, July 17, 2013 Revised Market Risk Charges For Banks In Our Risk-Adjusted Capital Framework, June 22, 2012 Banks: Rating Methodology And Assumptions, Nov. 9, 2011 Banking Industry Country Risk Assessment Methodology And Assumptions, Nov. 9, 2011 Bank Capital Methodology And Assumptions, Dec. 6, 2010 Methodology For Mapping Short- And Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings For Banks, May 4, 2010 Commercial Paper I: Banks, March 23, 2004 Use Of CreditWatch And Outlooks, Sept. 14, 2009 Group Rating Methodology, Nov. 19, 2013 Related Research Banking Industry Country Risk Assessment: Sweden, Dec. 8, 2015 Various Rating Actions Taken On Swedish Banks On Continued Government Support And Heightened Economic Risks, Dec. 2, 2015 Ratings List Ratings Affirmed Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB (publ) Counterparty Credit Rating A+/Stable/A-1 Senior Unsecured A+ Commercial Paper A-1 Upgraded To From Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB (publ) Subordinated BBB+ BBB Junior Subordinated BBB- BB+ Additional Contact: Industrial Ratings Europe; Certain terms used in this report, particularly certain adjectives used to express our view on rating relevant factors, have specific meanings ascribed to them in our criteria, and should therefore be read in conjunction with such criteria. Please see Ratings Criteria at for further information. Complete ratings information is available to subscribers of JUNE 1,

6 RatingsDirect at and at spcapitaliq.com. All ratings affected by this rating action can be found on the S&P Global Ratings public website at Use the Ratings search box located in the left column. Alternatively, call one of the following S&P Global Ratings numbers: Client Support Europe (44) ; London Press Office (44) ; Paris (33) ; Frankfurt (49) ; Stockholm (46) ; or Moscow 7 (495) JUNE 1,

7 Copyright 2016 by Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC. All rights reserved. No content (including ratings, credit-related analyses and data, valuations, model, software or other application or output therefrom) or any part thereof (Content) may be modified, reverse engineered, reproduced or distributed in any form by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC or its affiliates (collectively, S&P). The Content shall not be used for any unlawful or unauthorized purposes. S&P and any third-party providers, as well as their directors, officers, shareholders, employees or agents (collectively S&P Parties) do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, timeliness or availability of the Content. S&P Parties are not responsible for any errors or omissions (negligent or otherwise), regardless of the cause, for the results obtained from the use of the Content, or for the security or maintenance of any data input by the user. The Content is provided on an "as is" basis. S&P PARTIES DISCLAIM ANY AND ALL EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR USE, FREEDOM FROM BUGS, SOFTWARE ERRORS OR DEFECTS, THAT THE CONTENT'S FUNCTIONING WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED, OR THAT THE CONTENT WILL OPERATE WITH ANY SOFTWARE OR HARDWARE CONFIGURATION. In no event shall S&P Parties be liable to any party for any direct, indirect, incidental, exemplary, compensatory, punitive, special or consequential damages, costs, expenses, legal fees, or losses (including, without limitation, lost income or lost profits and opportunity costs or losses caused by negligence) in connection with any use of the Content even if advised of the possibility of such damages. Credit-related and other analyses, including ratings, and statements in the Content are statements of opinion as of the date they are expressed and not statements of fact. S&P's opinions, analyses, and rating acknowledgment decisions (described below) are not recommendations to purchase, hold, or sell any securities or to make any investment decisions, and do not address the suitability of any security. S&P assumes no obligation to update the Content following publication in any form or format. The Content should not be relied on and is not a substitute for the skill, judgment and experience of the user, its management, employees, advisors and/or clients when making investment and other business decisions. S&P does not act as a fiduciary or an investment advisor except where registered as such. While S&P has obtained information from sources it believes to be reliable, S&P does not perform an audit and undertakes no duty of due diligence or independent verification of any information it receives. To the extent that regulatory authorities allow a rating agency to acknowledge in one jurisdiction a rating issued in another jurisdiction for certain regulatory purposes, S&P reserves the right to assign, withdraw, or suspend such acknowledgement at any time and in its sole discretion. S&P Parties disclaim any duty whatsoever arising out of the assignment, withdrawal, or suspension of an acknowledgment as well as any liability for any damage alleged to have been suffered on account thereof. S&P keeps certain activities of its business units separate from each other in order to preserve the independence and objectivity of their respective activities. As a result, certain business units of S&P may have information that is not available to other S&P business units. S&P has established policies and procedures to maintain the confidentiality of certain nonpublic information received in connection with each analytical process. S&P may receive compensation for its ratings and certain analyses, normally from issuers or underwriters of securities or from obligors. S&P reserves the right to disseminate its opinions and analyses. S&P's public ratings and analyses are made available on its Web sites, (free of charge), and and (subscription) and (subscription) and may be distributed through other means, including via S&P publications and third-party redistributors. Additional information about our ratings fees is available at STANDARD & POOR'S, S&P and RATINGSDIRECT are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC. JUNE 1,

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