HSBC Holdings (0005.HK) announced Sunday that it has decided to keep its headquarters in Britain, following a review into a potential move that could have shifted the group’s base to Hong Kong.
The bank’s board made a unanimous decision to maintain the hub in London, giving a boost to the city’s status as a global financial center, Reuters reported.
“London is one of the world’s leading international financial centers and home to a large pool of highly skilled, international talent,” Europe’s biggest bank was quoted as saying in a statement following a meeting in the British capital.
“It remains therefore ideally positioned to be the home base for a global financial institution such as HSBC”.
HSBC stressed that while it is keeping its UK base, it remains committed to its Asia “Pivot” strategy under which it plans to invest more into China’s Pearl River Delta region and Southeast Asia.
“Having our headquarters in the UK and our significant business in Asia Pacific delivers the best of both worlds to our stakeholders,” Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver said in the statement.
Unstable Chinese markets and concerns about Beijing’s increasing influence over Hong Kong are believed to have played a part in HSBC’s decision to keep its headquarters in the UK.
Some investors had earlier urged the bank to consider leaving Britain, partly because of a tax on lenders’ global balance sheets brought in after the 2007-2009 financial crisis.
But in July, Britain scaled back the tax, removing a major disadvantage for banks such as HSBC.
A Reuters analysis in January showed that moving to Hong Kong might have actually increased the bank’s tax burden.
HSBC said Sunday that it will end its policy of reviewing where its headquarters should be every three years, and will only do so if there is “a material change in circumstances.”
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