HSBC to consider ditching UK headquarters

HSBC chairman Douglas Flint has promised shareholders the bank will re-evaluate the location of its headquarters.

Speaking at a shareholder meeting in Hong Kong ahead of the bank’s London annual general meeting on 5 May, Flint was asked by investors about the location of the bank.

According to reports, Flint said: “We are beginning to see the final shape of regulation, the final shape of structural reform and as soon as that mist lifts sufficiently, we will once again start to look at where the best place for HSBC is.”

The bank traditionally reviews its head office location every three years, but that was postponed in 2012 as the Financial Services Authority gave way to the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulatory Authority.

A HSBC spokeswoman declined to comment.

Flint’s comments come after both he and HSBC chief executive Stuart Gulliver faced scrutiny over their control of the bank.

Following revelations that staff in HSBC’s Swiss private bank had aided customers in dodging tax, the duo were hauled before MPs, where they blamed local management for the failures.

Last week, reports suggested that HSBC was preparing for an exit for Flint, who has served as chairman since 2010.