HSBC bats down talk of a move to Hong Kong as it 'prefers the City'

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The Independent Online

Shareholders in HSBC are increasingly asking its management about the cost of remaining headquartered in the UK, although the bank has no imminent plans to leave the City of London, it said last night amid speculation that it might be gearing up to leave Britain for Hong Kong.

The company, which has already moved its chief executive's office to the former British colony, is conducting a triennial review of where best to locate its headquarters. But last night, the chief executive, Stuart Gulliver, and chairman, Douglas Flint, said they would still prefer to remain in the UK.

"We are however, in light of possible regulatory changes and additional costs such as the bank levy, being increasingly asked by shareholders and investors about the likely additional cost of being headquartered in the UK," they said. "We are very clear that the City of London's competitive position deserves protection and HSBC will play a full part in this."