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HSBC to Keep Hq in UK, snubs Asia’s Hong Kong

Europe’s largest bank HSBC informed the financial markets on Monday that it would remain headquartered in Britain, rejecting a move to Hong Kong despite concerns about increased regulation in the UK. The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation said in a note to the London Stock Exchange following a board meeting yesterday that London’s many advantages meant it was “ideally positioned” to provide a home base. “Having our headquarters in the UK and our significant business in Asia Pacific delivers the best of both worlds to our stakeholders,” group chairman Douglas Flint told BBC radio. It made no reference to growing fears in Hong Kong that the city’s freedoms are being eroded by an increasingly influential China, a trend observers say could damage its status as a freewheeling finance hub. The bank began its review of where to put its headquarters in April last year, two weeks before a British general election, amid growing calls for a crackdown on a sector seen by many voters as feckless. It also cited as a reason for the review the British bank levy introduced in 2010 -- a tax based on the size of any British-based banks’ global balance sheet which has since been scaled down.
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