HSBC, the UK’s biggest bank and the most valuable company listed on the London Stock Exchange, has confirmed it will keep its headquarters in London, ending months of speculation it may move to Asia.
The bank said the board reached the decision unanimously.
In a statement explaining its decision, HSBC said: “The UK is an important and globally connected economy. It has an internationally respected regulatory framework and legal system, and immense experience in handling complex international affairs.”
It went on: “London is one of the world’s leading international financial centres and home to a large pool of highly skilled, international talent. It remains therefore ideally positioned to be the home base for a global financial institution such as HSBC.”
Until 1993 HSBC was headquartered in Hong Kong. But following its acquisition of the UK-based Midland Bank in 1992, it moved its headquarters to London, where it has been based ever since. However, it maintains a dual listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. In the final stages of the review, the bank said the choice was narrowed down to either London and Hong Kong.
While it opted to stay put in the UK, the bank said Asia remained “at the heart of the Group’s strategy”, adding, “HSBC is putting particular emphasis on investing further in the Pearl River Delta and ASEAN region. This reflects increasing shifts in global trade and capital flows to and from Asia, in respect of which Hong Kong will play a pivotal role.”
The market appeared to respond well to the news. At 11:45am London time the share price had increased by 1%. Since the beginning of the year, HSBC’s share price has fallen by 17%.