HSBC keeps HQ in London – but focus on Asia

HSBC said on Monday that while Asia is at the heart of the banking group’s strategy, it had decided to remain headquartered in London after an “exhaustive” review.

“Having our headquarters in the UK and our significant business in Asia Pacific delivers the best of both worlds to our stakeholders,” said HSBC group chief executive Stuart Gulliver.

In an update for investors in June 2015, HSBC announced a “Pivot to Asia” as a core part of its strategy.

“Led from its heartland in Hong Kong, itself a top three global financial centre and where The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited is headquartered, HSBC is putting particular emphasis on investing further in the Pearl River Delta and ASEAN region,” said the group on Monday.

“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.”

However, HSBC group chairman Douglas Flint said on Monday that as the company evaluated jurisdictions against specified criteria, it became clear that the combination of a strategic focus on Asia and maintaining its hub in London, “was not only compatible, but offered the best outcome for our customers and shareholders.”

HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organizations, with assets of around $2.5 trillion and about 6,100 offices in 72 countries in Asia, Europe, North America, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa.

The HSBC board has also decided it will not be necessary to continue the previous practice of reviewing the location of the group’s headquarters every three years, and will only revisit the matter if there is a “material change” in circumstances.

“London is one of the world’s leading international financial centres and home to a large pool of highly skilled, international talent,” said HSBC.

“It remains therefore ideally positioned to be the home base for a global financial institution such as HSBC.”

Further, the bank said the UK was positioned to be the leading western financial centre supporting the internationalisation of China’s currency the renminbi and is growing its trade and investment flows with China.