Stamp duty on credit cut
The proposed cut of the 1.5% stamp duty payable on credits granted by Finnish credit institutions will effect major changes on credit granting. Under the government bill, stamp duty will no longer be levied on loan agreements and mortgages. The amendment is proposed to be retroactive, enabling creditors to proceed an action ex post facto for the stamp duty paid in connection with the granting of the loan if the loan agreement has been signed on or after April 29 1998.
The estimated profit to the state resulting from the stamp duty in 1998 is about Fmk1.12 billion (US$207 million). This will be reduced by the amendment by two-thirds. The change is expected to have a significant effect on the expenses of debtors and will improve the competitive position of Finnish credit institutions.
New lists on Helsinki exchanges
At the beginning of May 1998, the Helsinki Exchanges (HEX) published its plan to reorganize its lists for public trade in securities. At the moment, HEX maintains three lists on which shares are quoted: the Stock Exchange List, the OTC-List and the Brokers' List. After the reorganization in autumn 1998, HEX will still maintain three lists, but they will be more clearly targeted to different types of listed companies:
- the Main List will include only blue chip companies with a strong financial position and a market capitalization of at least Fmk200 million;
- the target group of the Investors' List will consist of medium-sized companies which have established their business and position. This will replace the existing OTC-List and the Brokers' List. The minimum market capitalization of a company admitted for listing on the Investors' List will be Fmk20 million.
- the New Market List is aimed at expanding, internationally oriented companies, with a minimum market capitalization of Fmk10 million.
In addition, HEX will establish a pre-list, where companies may be admitted for listing before the official listing. The pre-list may be regarded as a company's first step towards a regulated market. The company admitted to the pre-list is required to fulfil the requirements of the corresponding official list where it intends to be quoted in the future.
The reorganization of listing alternatives is expected to widen the investors' investment possibilities by enabling smaller, expanding companies to enter into the regulated market.