HSBC headquarters to remain in UK: Europe's biggest bank announces decision to stay in London

Decision comes despite uncertainty of EU referendum

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The Independent Online

HSBC Holdings - Europe’s biggest bank - has announced it will keep its headquarters in the UK, after a review thought to have been prompted by stricter regulations and higher taxes.

It is believed the bank had been considering moving to Hong Kong, after it revealed a new “pivot to Asia” strategy last year and amid concern within the financial sector that the UK might leave the European Union.

But in a statement, the company said the UK was an “important and globally connected economy”.

“It has an internationally respected regulatory framework and legal system, and immense experience in handling complex international affairs,” the bank said.

“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.”

However, it added that Asia “remains at the heart of the Group’s strategy”.

HSBC’s group chairman, Douglas Flint, 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.”

In April, shortly before last year’s election, Mr Flint said “regulatory and structural reforms” carried out following the 2008 financial crisis had led the bank to consider relocation.

He also warned of the dangers of leaving the EU. “Working to complete the (EU) single market in services and reforming it are far less risky than going it alone,” he said.