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Sunday, 17 December 2017

HSBC CEO says decision on HQ could slip into 2016

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(Reuters) - HSBC Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver said recent moves by Britain’s new government reflected a more positive mood towards the financial sector, as the bank continues to weigh where it should be headquartered.

HSBC, Europe’s largest bank with significant operations in Asia, had said it aimed to complete the review this year, though Gulliver said on Friday there was “no hard deadline” and the decision on whether to switch could slip into 2016.

Britain’s government has reduced a tax levy on banks and made some concessions regarding rules to make banks separate their UK retail banking arms from riskier areas since David Cameron’s traditionally pro-business Conservative party swept to a surprise election win in May.

“Some of the stuff since the election clearly indicates a change towards the City. That was signalled by George Osborne in the Mansion House speech, and some of what we’ve seen since … (reflects) that notion,” Gulliver told reporters after a speech about China on Friday.

He said the decision on domicile would be made by HSBC’s board and would take in account a range of issues. The board plans to meet four times to discuss the issue, and has met twice, Gulliver added.

Gulliver said that he could see the decision slip into next year as it was more important to make the right decision than stick to a rigid deadline. But he added: “It can’t slip too far,” pointing out that the uncertainty was disruptive for staff.

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