Axial coordination to metalloporphyrins is important in many biological and catalytic processes. Experiments found the axial coordination of nitrogenous bases to nickel(II) porphyrins to be strongly favored by electron-withdrawing substituents such as perfluorophenyls at the meso carbon positions. Careful analysis of the electronic structure reveals that the natural explanation in terms of density change of the nickel(II) porphyrin system (in particular the metal), does not apply. Electron density changes, by the assumed inductive or polarizing effects on the metal or on the porphyrin ring system, are slight. The effect is caused by a remarkable through-space electric field effect on the metalloporphyrin system, originating from the charge distribution inside the perfluorphenyl groups (mostly the C-F dipoles).