Un­der-fire bank Stan­dard Char­tered reaf­firms its Hong Kong com­mit­ment

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business -

◆ Stan­dard Char­tered has re­it­er­ated its com­mit­ment to Hong Kong af­ter be­ing heav­ily crit­i­cised for back­ing a se­cu­rity law in the city that hands sweep­ing pow­ers to Bei­jing, writes Lucy Bur­ton.

The Lon­don-listed bank, along with ri­val HSBC, has been con­demned in re­cent weeks af­ter it broke years of po­lit­i­cal neu­tral­ity by back­ing the law that crim­i­nalises anti-govern­ment protests in the for­mer Bri­tish colony.

It left the lenders vul­ner­a­ble to ac­cu­sa­tions that they had bowed to pres­sure from Bei­jing and set them at odds with the UK Govern­ment, which has been strongly crit­i­cal of the plans. Hong Kong is Stan­dard Char­tered’s largest mar­ket.

Chair­man José Viñals ad­dressed the un­rest yes­ter­day, ar­gu­ing that “more col­lab­o­ra­tion – not less – is the best way to find a sus­tain­able equilib­rium in th­ese com­plex sit­u­a­tions, but we do not ex­pect an easy or quick res­o­lu­tion”. His com­ments came as the bank an­nounced a 25pc fall in prof­its to $2bn (£1.5bn) for the first-half.

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