Wharf-based bank HSBC is once again assessing whether London is the best place for its HQ following a £750million levy on its balance sheet by the Government.
Chairman Douglas Flint told shareholders in Hong Kong that the bank would consider its options once the nature of banking reform became evident.
He 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 Government has increased its levy for an eighth time with HSBC particularly exposed even though it makes most of its profits in Asia. Standard Chartered is also under pressure to relocated because of the escalating costs of being in London.
The company’s AGM on Friday is expected to see chief executive Stuart Gulliver face shareholder anger over the scale of bonuses and the scandals surrounding revelations that its Swiss banking arm helped wealthy clients to hide billions from the taxman.
Meanwhile questions will be raised about HSBC’s retreat from tough overseas environments in Turkey and Brazil as part of a streamlining effort that will see the closure of a number of underperforming or exposed operations.