HSBC to keep headquarters in London despite Brexit

HSBC completed a 10-month review into whether to move its base away from London in February

Hazel Sheffield
Thursday 30 June 2016 13:30
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HSBC chairman Douglas Flint says the ‘best answer’ for the bank is for the UK to stay in a reformed EU
HSBC chairman Douglas Flint says the ‘best answer’ for the bank is for the UK to stay in a reformed EU

HSBC has confirmed that it will keep its headquarters in London despite the shock decision for the UK to leave the EU.

Douglas Flint, chairman, told City executives gathered at a conference in London that HSBC would stick to its plan to keep its headquarters in the UK.

HSBC completed a 10-month review into whether to move its base away from London in February, with New York or Hong Kong thought to be likely alternatives.

The outcome of that review was that HSBC should stay put in London even though two-thirds of its profits are generated in Asia. Mr Flint confirmed that the referendum outcome would not trigger another review.

“We said at the time we made the decision that we’d taken that [a Brexit] into consideration and that in the event of this outcome we would not call for that to be revisited," he said.

Tory leadership race underway

Before the vote, Stuart Gulliver, HSBC’s chief executive, said that Brexit could see 20 per cent of its 5,000 London investment bankers moved out of London to Paris, or a total of 1,000 staff.

But Mr Flint sought to reassure investors of HSBC's commitment to them in the aftermath of the vote.

He said on Friday: "The work to establish fresh terms of trade with our European and global partners will be complex and time consuming.

"We will be working tirelessly in the coming weeks and months to help our customers adjust to and prepare for the new environment."

UK banks fear they may lose passporting, or the ability to do business with the whole of the EU.

Banks are discussing whether they will need to move European headquarters to the continent to keep the same privileges.

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