Leading banker Antonio Simoes says being gay has been 'an advantage' in the world of finance

CEO of HSBC UK says his sexuality has made him 'a more authentic person'

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A leading UK banker has put his success in the financial world down to the fact that he is gay.

Antonio Simoes, the chief executive of HSBC UK, argues that it has been “an advantage” for him. “It made me a more authentic person, better able to empathise, and with more emotional intelligence,” he said.  “If I wasn’t gay, probably I wouldn’t be CEO of the bank.”

Mr Simoes, aged 39, led the Out At Work list of 50 leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender executives published last week and says it is more surprising that someone of his age and nationality (he is Portuguese) is leading a UK bank than the fact that he is gay.

“It’s never going to happen again in the history of HSBC UK that a 39-year-old short, bald, Portuguese becomes CEO of the bank but I hope – in fact, I am sure – that we will have a lot more gay CEOs for generations to come.”

Mr Simoes is married to Tomas, a Spaniard, and told the Portuguese newspaper Expresso that conversations with Lord Browne revealed the former gay BP executive had found it difficult to come out because of his age. Mr Simoes believed that had all changed last year when Tim Cook, chief executive of Apple, had announced he was gay.