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HSBC relocation suggestions 'premature'

Monday 07 March 2011 by Gina Le Prevost

Reports that HSBC is considering moving its centre of operations to Hong Kong, which could interest those in Asian banking jobs, are "speculative and presumptive", the institution has said. The Sunday Telegraph had stated that a move to the city was "more than likely", but executives from the firm dismissed this. In a joint statement, the bank's chairman Douglas Flint and chief executive Stuart Gulliver said: "London continues to be widely recognised as one of the world's leading international financial centres [and] we have been very clear that it is our preference to remain headquartered here." However, it went on to note that HSBC is concerned that additional costs such as the banking levy to be imposed by the coalition on financial institutions will make it more expensive to operate in the UK. Mr Gulliver already has his main office in Hong Kong and the bank has announced that the majority of its profits last year had come from overseas. Last week, chief executive of UBS Oswald Grubel told the Financial Times that many banks may begin to look outside Europe, as traditional centres such as London are not rewarding success in the way they used to.