HSBC board said to meet Sunday to mull headquarters decision

Hong Kong, Canada, US and China among options if bank decides to shift from London

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 February, 2016, 7:28pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 February, 2016, 7:28pm

HSBC’s board will meet on Sunday to decide whether to shift its headquarters from London, two sources said.

The board had a meeting scheduled in London and if a decision was reached, the bank would formally announce its decision that evening, they said. There was a chance the board would not reach a verdict and could postpone the decision to another meeting they said.

The board, led by chief executive Stuart Gulliver and chairman Douglas Flint, started a review of the bank’s British domicile in April, mulling tax systems, financial regulations and the ability to tap qualified staff among 11 factors outlined. British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has since made concessions to the largest banks, scrapping plans to raise the tax burden further and helping pave the way to ease regulatory scrutiny.

“An announcement will be made when the board makes its final decision and, if necessary, a further update will be provided at the time of the full year results announcement,” HSBC spokesman Morgan Bone said.

The board had another meeting scheduled for February 19 in London, where members would sign off on the banks full-year results, the sources said.

Finance director Iain Mackay has said HSBC considered Hong Kong as well as Canada, the United States, China, Australia, Singapore, France and Germany as possible locations. Hong Kong is seen by analysts and investors as the most likely destination. Large investors including Aberdeen Asset Management forecast the bank to stay in London.

The board was leaning towards keeping headquarters in London, the Sunday Times reported on Sunday.