Wharf-based banking giant HSBC says it will make a decision about the future location of its headquarters by the end of the year.
HSBC chief executive Stuart Gulliver said that shareholders will have the final say about a move, driven by increasing regulatory and statutory changes to the way banks can do business.
He said: “[The review] will take a few months. If we decide that the UK is not the best place for HSBC, we will need to go to the board with a recommendation to move and also hold an emergency general meeting to get shareholder approval. Until we finish the review it will be impossible to say how much we could save.”
Mr Gulliver, who was hauled before Parliament to explain the activities of its rogue Swiss private banking arm earlier this year, announced pre-tax profits up 4% to £4.6billion, an optimistic result pitted against 2014 when profits had fallen.
Over half of HSBC’s profits come from Asia and the most favoured target for its HQ is its original home in Hong Kong. Only 250 jobs out of 48,000 UK-based HSBC employees would be transferred if the headquarters relocated, said HSBC, which came to this country in 1993 to take over Midland Bank.