How will the Russian invasion to Ukraine affect the business and private customers of SEB?
What is happening in Ukraine is a great tragedy for the whole world, causing great human suffering and loss of life. In addition, the effects of the war are already visible in both the global and private economies. We have therefore compiled answers to the most frequently asked questions right now.
As of 2 May, SEB has stopped offering payment services in Russian roubles.
As of 1 June , 2022, we have terminated payments to/from Russia and Belarus in all currencies.
If you have any further questions, please contact us from the Internet Bank menu item ‘Messages’ → ‘Send new message’, by email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call our customer support at 665 5100 or your client executive.
As of 1 June 2022, SEB has stopped offering payment services in all currencies with Russia and Belarus.
Transactions with Ukrainian banks are generally allowed. Transactions are prohibited if the bank’s parent company is sanctioned, including if it is a sanctioned subsidiary of a Russian or Belarusian bank.
As of 3 October 2022, SEB has ceased transactions with Alfa-Bank (Ukraine), rebranded as Sense Bank, BIC: SENSUAUK (former BIC: ALFAUAUK).
Due to additional restrictions imposed by correspondent banks, there may be problems with the movement of payments with other banks.
Card payments and transfers
Belarus: Not possible to pay with SEB card.
Russia: Not possible to pay with SEB card.
Yes, we continue to accept pension payments from Russian and Belarusian banks, but only from the banks that are not sanctioned or otherwise restricted. We note that correspondent banks may also impose restrictions on Russian and Belarusian banks.
Ukrainian banks are not on the list of sanctioned banks, so no errors should occur on SEB’s side of the process, but settlements with the Ukrainian branches of sanctioned Russian or Belarusian banks is prohibited, including payments or cash withdrawals at terminals issued by them.
Considering the situation in the world and the increased desire and need to help Ukraine, all SEB payments to Ukraine, that are initiated in our branch, are free of charge. If you wish to make a payment to Ukraine in your internet bank then a payment fee is applied.
As payments in euros are transferred the fastest we recommend to prefer make payments in euros.
The service fee of payments to Ukraine will be returned within two working days.
If SEB has determined that an incoming payment must be subject to a freeze in accordance with the sanctions regime, the bank will apply a financial sanction in accordance with subsection 14 (1) of the International Sanctions Act, which obliges the bank to freeze the funds and economic resources received from a subject of international sanctions. The bank is obliged to freeze the funds even if it has an unresolved suspicion that the person should be subject to sanctions. This may be the case, for example, if the person from or through whom the payment is received is not sanctioned themselves but may be under the control of a sanctioned person.
After freezing the funds, the bank will notify the Financial Intelligence Unit and the customer. The Financial Intelligence Unit will verify the lawful application of the financial sanction within ten working days and then provide the bank with feedback within two working days.
If the Financial Intelligence Unit finds that the suspicion of the bank does not have sufficient grounds, there is no need to continue to apply the financial sanction and the bank will release the payment and inform the customer thereof.
If the Financial Intelligence Unit finds that the financial sanction must be applied, the transaction will remain frozen. In this case, the customer has the right to contact the Financial Intelligence Unit and submit an application in accordance with section 17 of the International Sanctions Act to request the verification of the legality of applying the sanction. The Financial Intelligence Unit will have ten working days to process the application, after which it will inform the subject of the financial sanction or the person concerned of the exact scope and content of the measures taken against them within two working days, as well their legal basis, the starting date, the procedure for contesting, and the grounds and procedures for granting exemptions.
Persons whose transactions are frozen may, in certain cases, apply to the Financial Intelligence Unit as the competent authority for the release of the funds if the regulation imposing the financial sanction and the circumstances of the transaction so permit. Such an exception applies, for example, under Article 6 of Council Regulation (EU) 269/2014, where a person listed in Annex I to the Regulation is required to make a payment under a contract or agreement concluded before the date of their sanctioning.
The application can be submitted to the Financial Intelligence Unit via the following email address: email@example.com .
For more information, visit the website of the Financial Intelligence Unit.
Investments and securities
Due to risks related to sanctions imposed on Russia, the following is not possible via SEB starting from 8 March 2022: providing transactions and services related to securities issued in Russia or issued outside of Russia but connected to Russia or legal persons in Russia, incl. purchases, providing investment services or assistance regarding their issuance, and any other form of trade therewith, except for decreasing and liquidating one’s position in cases where this is permissible, considering international sanctions.
As of 2nd May 2022, we have terminated the quotations for the Russian ruble (RUB) and providing financial services in rubles:
The Bank will aim to support sale of securities traded in RUB on the best-effort basis, whenever selling of those securities will become possible. We will do our best to convert any sales proceeds in RUB to EUR and credit to customer’s account.
For additional information on securities, please contact our Markets team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The conflict between Ukraine and Russia has had a significant impact on financial markets and led to a larger decline. Should I change my current pension fund and choose a less risky one?
Although the Russian stock market lost about half of its value before the suspension, Russian companies make up a very small part of the stock indices in the world. World equities have been in the red at around 7% since the beginning of the year as at 28 February, which is not extraordinary, especially given the rise of more than 25% last year.
There are no direct investments in SEB's pension funds in Russia, Belarus, or Ukraine. The risk of these countries is marginal through other funds, but the share of such risk remains in the range of 0.12% –1.06%, depending on the fund. The performance of the assets and currencies of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine has a minimal impact on the customers of our pension funds. We are carefully monitoring the lists of sanctioned companies so as not to fund companies on the banned lists, and we demand the same from other fund managers in whose products we have invested.
The risk level of the pension fund should correspond to both the age of the person and their risk tolerance. This is to avoid a situation where a person chooses a fund that is too risky for their age and risk tolerance and then changes it and chooses a less risky one due to panic. It is worth remembering that saving for your pension is a marathon and you should look beyond the current situation. If in doubt, we recommend that you contact a bank employee and seek advice.
As at 31 January 2022, the following funds invest in Russia and Ukraine:
- SEB Eastern Europe Small and Mid Cap Fund – 51% proportion (temporarily closed for trading from 28 February 2022)
- SEB Emerging Markets Fund – 3.5% proportion
Remember that the new sanctions may also bring about changes in the funds.
I am afraid that the conflict between Ukraine and Russia will have a negative impact on the assets of my unit-linked life insurance agreement and I want to end the agreement.
Military conflicts put the patience of even experienced investors to the test. It is very important to remember that investing is a long-term process and that major fluctuations in the markets must be taken into account during times like this.
We recommend that you stay calm and not make rash decisions based on emotions. Market fluctuations are normal and you should not react to every change when you are saving money for the long term. We recommend that you contact an SEB employee before making a decision.
Global practice in both life and property insurance states that war damage is not covered by insurance contracts. In accordance with the terms and conditions of the insurance products of SEB Life and Pension Baltic SE, the following exclusion applies:
- The insurer may refuse to pay the sum insured or reduce it if the insured event was caused by acts of war, an act of a foreign enemy, civil war, rebellion, or participation in a revolution or riot.
For example, if an insured person is injured in bombing, this is not an insured event. However, if a person has sudden health problems while in Ukraine or a traffic accident occurs on the way from Ukraine to Estonia, they are covered by the insured event.
You can read more about the terms and conditions of insurance here: https://www.seb.ee/en/terms-and-conditions
More information on the sanctions imposed on Russia and Belarus can be found here: https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/policies/eu-response-ukraine-invasion/ and https://fiu.ee/rahvusvahelised-sanktsioonid/venemaa-sojaline-agressioon-ukrainas
Information on whether an individual has been added to the sanctions list can be found here for EU sanctions: https://www.sanctionsmap.eu/ and https://fiu.ee/rahvusvahelised-sanktsioonid/rahvusvahelised-finantssanktsioonid and here for OFAC sanctions: https://sanctionssearch.ofac.treas.gov/
In accordance with the interpretation of the European Commission of 26 August 2022, paying for sanctioned goods imported from Russia is prohibited after the ban resulting from sanctions took effect and the transition periods ended when the performance of prior contracts was allowed even if the goods reached Estonia at a time when the sanction on goods did not apply.
However, receiving payments for sanctioned goods exported to Russia is permitted after the end of the transition period if the export of goods to Russia was allowed at the time of exporting them.
At the moment, we are temporarily suspending the issuance of powers of attorney to customers who want to go to Russia and Belarus with a vehicle belonging to AS SEB Liising. The decision is indefinite and depends on the situation in these countries.
I want to provide financial support to Ukrainian organisations. What should I keep in mind and where should I donate?
- Pay attention to the name of the recipient of the payment.
- Google the recipient of the payment – an individual or a business – and adequately evaluate the results.
- Make sure the post/page asking for financial help is credible.
- Check the account number and the country you are asked to send the money to.
- If you want to donate/support, do so through official organisations. Be careful with social media posts asking for financial help.
- Be sceptical about text messages, calls, and emails asking for financial assistance in support of Ukraine. If the emails and text messages contain a link to make a payment, we do not recommend using them. These may be from fraudsters who want to take advantage of the situation. Be sure not to enter your authentication information (username/password) or card information on an unknown page. If you wish to make a payment/donation, use the Internet bank (logging in as usual).
If you want to transfer donations to, for example, the Central Bank of Ukraine to support the Ukraine, then you could do it:
to Ukrainian Military
Receiver: National Bank of Ukraine
Explanation: for ac 47330992708
For Ukrainian humanitarian aid:
Receiver: Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine
Explanation: for ac 32302338301027
NBU Opens Special Account to Raise Funds for Ukraine’s Armed Forces (bank.gov.ua)
Receiver: Deutsche Bundesbank, Frankfurt
Receiver´s address: Wilhelm-Epstein-Strasse 14, 60431 Frankfurt Am Main, Germany
NBU Opens Fundraising Account for Humanitarian Assistance to Ukrainians Affected by Russia’s Aggression
Donations can be made with a bank transfer:
- MTÜ Eesti Pagulasabi, EE791010220258852223
- MTÜ Mondo, EE491010220099409013
- MTÜ Ukraina Kultuurikeskus, EE401010220229090221
- Eesti Punane Rist MTÜ, EE742200001180001436
Or via bank links:
It all depends on how the geopolitical crisis will develop in the coming days. At the same time, our customers can feel at ease because the economies of Estonia and the European Union are strong. Low public debt and a unified readiness to deal with the crisis mean that we will be ready for a deterioration in the economic situation.
- Website of the Financial Intelligence Unit – an overview of the sanctions: https://fiu.ee/rahvusvahelised-sanktsioonid/rahvusvahelised-finantssanktsioonid and an overview of international sanctions related to Russia's aggression in Ukraine https://fiu.ee/rahvusvahelised-sanktsioonid/venemaa-sojaline-agressioon-ukrainas
- EU press releases – summary of the sanctions: https://www.consilium.europa.eu/et/press/press-releases/2022/02/25/russia-s-military-aggression-against-ukraine-eu-imposes-sanctions-against-president-putin-and-foreign-minister-lavrov-and-adopts-wide-ranging-individual-and-economic-sanctions/
- EU regulations between 21–28 February:: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/oj/direct-access.html
- An overview of the EU sanctions: https://www.sanctionsmap.eu/#/main
- OFAC sanctions: https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions
- Foreign Ministry Sanctions Fact Sheet: https://www.vm.ee/sanktsioonid-ekspordi-ja-relvastuskontroll/rahvusvahelised-sanktsioonid/venemaa-ja-valgevene-vastu
Despite the war in Ukraine, many Ukrainian banks continue to provide digital payment services (cards and payments). Therefore, Ukrainian refugees arriving in Estonia should check whether the bank cards issued by Ukrainian banks are working in Estonia. If they do, these cards can be used to pay for purchases and withdraw cash in euros. For these transactions, the exchange rate of the hryvnia to the euro is determined by the Ukrainian bank that issued the bank card.
SEB does not exchange hryvni.