HSBC con­sid­ers mov­ing head­quar­ters from Bri­tain

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

HSBC is con­sid­er­ing mov­ing its head­quar­ters from Bri­tain in the wake of “reg­u­la­tory and struc­tural re­forms” im­posed af­ter the 2008 fi­nan­cial cri­sis, the bank’s chair­man said Fri­day.

Dou­glas Flint told the an­nual gen­eral meet­ing that the board had asked man­age­ment “to com­mence work to look at where the best place is for HSBC to be head­quar­tered in this new en­vi­ron­ment.”

Flint said the bank was re­spond­ing to re­forms in­clud­ing a de­mand to sep­a­rate its in­vest­ment and re­tail bank­ing arms in Bri­tain.

He also cited un­cer­tainty about whether Bri­tain will re­main in the Euro­pean Union as a cause for con­cern.

Prime Min­is­ter David Cameron has promised to hold a ref­er­en­dum on whether to leave the 28-na­tion bloc if he is re-elected next month.

Flint said HSBC be­lieved that re­form­ing the EU from within was “far less risky than go­ing it alone.”

Vic­to­ria Webb, a dealer at Lon­don Cap­i­tal Group, said this was not the first such head­quar­ters re­view, but the tim­ing, weeks be­fore Bri­tain’s May 7 elec­tion, “will be seen as a clear sig­nal to all po­lit­i­cal par­ties that busi­ness and the City is not happy with the way the elec­tion­eer­ing is go­ing.”

HSBC orig­i­nated in Hong Kong and has been based in Bri­tain since 1992 when it took over the UK’s Mid­land bank. The global group em­ploys 266,000 peo­ple, 48,000 of them in Bri­tain.

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