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City offers 'best outcome'

HSBC decides to retain bank headquarters in London

HSBC HQ websiteHSBC has announced it is to retain its global headquarters in London in a move that will be greeted with huge relief in the City and in the political establishment.

The decision by Europe’s biggest bank follows a review into stricter regulations in the UK and will be welcomed by the British Government and European Union as endorsing new rules on bonuses and how the banks operate.

It had considered a switch to Hong Kong where it does much of its business, but said London “offered the best outcome for our customers and shareholders”.

Mr Osborne’s softer approach to the banks, including reforms to the banking taxation system will also have encouraged the bank to stay put.

In a statement, HSBC added that London had an “internationally respected regulatory framework and legal system” and that it also was “home to a large pool of highly skilled, international talent”.

This made it “ideally positioned to be the home base for a global financial institution such as HSBC”.

Douglas Flint, HSBC chairman, said: “As we evaluated jurisdictions against the specified criteria, it became clear that the combination of our strategic focus on Asia and maintaining our hub in one of the world’s leading international financial centres,
London, was not only compatible, but offered the best outcome for our customers and shareholders.

“We are very grateful for the hard work and insight of so many who helped in this complex exercise.”

Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver, added: “Having our headquarters in the UK and our significant business in Asia Pacific delivers the best of both worlds to our stakeholders.”

The decision was made by the board of directors unanimously and took place after what the bank has described as an “exhaustive” review process.

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said: “Strong banks which can provide the finance businesses need to grow are critical for the British economy. And we want to have truly global companies, major employers like HSBC, headquartered here so this announcement is good news.

“HSBC’s thorough review and consideration of other international financial centres emphasises the need for the UK to continuously stay competitive on regulation, tax and talent.”

Chris Cummings, Chief Executive, TheCityUK, said: “This announcement is a vote of confidence in London’s position as the world’s leading international financial centre.

“It’s clearly in the UK’s interests that HSBC, one of the leading global banks, remains headquartered here. At a time when other centres are fighting hard to attract business, HSBC’s serious consideration of alternative locations brings into focus the importance of short and long-term decisions by Government to advance the attractiveness of the UK.”

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