Reports suggest the United States has emerged as a possible new location for HSBC's global headquarters. Ciara Lee reports on how a potential move away from London could impact the city’s status as a leading financial hub.
It's known as the world's local bank - but there's increased speculation over the location of HSBC's global headquarters. The US is the latest option to emerge as a possible frontrunner, as reported by the Financial Times. Hong Kong and Singapore have been mentioned in the past. Dominic Elliot is from Reuters Breakingviews. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DOMINIC ELLIOTT, REUTERS BREAKINGVIEWS COLUMNIST, SAYING: "If you think about the U.S. it has a huge balance sheet so if you think about HSBC in proportion to the UK in terms of its GDP, it's actually a big risk to the UK's GDP." The lender, which has significant operations in Asia, began exploring its options in April, driven by concerns over tax and regulation in the UK. Analysts warn of the loss to London if Europe's largest bank does end up moving elsewhere. CCLA's James Bevan. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER AT CCLA, JAMES BEVAN, SAYING: "London's stature in the banking community would be impaired. That said it is right and proper that HSBC should consider all of the choices that are open to it. HSBC will be trying to make a strong statement to the authorities in the UK that we must have a clear regulatory system. We must then stick with it and this must be a regulatory system that should be comfortable for banks." Britain's government has reduced a tax levy on banks and made some concessions regarding rules to make banks separate their UK retail banking arms from riskier areas. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DOMINIC ELLIOTT, REUTERS BREAKINGVIEWS COLUMNIST, SAYING: "I think London is the natural home for HSBC. It's been here for a long time. I think that OK there was a case maybe a couple of years ago, even earlier this year for it to think about moving. The government has softened that now and it doesn't seem as thought it is going to be as bad for HSBC." HSBC has welcomed changes to the UK's financial sector - but says a final decision on its headquarters may not be made until 2016.