Barclays, not HSBC, should mull quitting the UK

November 5, 2015

HSBC caused a scene by suggesting it might move its HQ to Hong Kong. But it makes more sense for UK-based peer Barclays to move to New York. Its new CEO is American, the U.S. is better able to house a systemically important bank, and Barclays might dodge UK bank and bonus rules.

Bank watchdogs tie themselves in knots over TLAC

September 10, 2015

Financial regulators are throwing a bone to sprawling global banks by watering down plans for what happens if a lender goes bust. Putting the likes of HSBC on an even footing with rivals structured differently is justifiable. But it makes resolving crises that bit harder.

Numbers add up to HSBC leaving London

July 31, 2015

The global bank is reviewing its head office location based on 11 criteria such as economic importance, transparency and tax. A ranking based on data compiled by Breakingviews shows Singapore, Hong Kong and even Toronto are more attractive than HSBC’s current home base.

HSBC continues to wind back the clock

June 9, 2015

Four years since he started pruning the bank, CEO Stuart Gulliver is cutting risk-weighted assets by a quarter and shedding 50,000 employees. HSBC is returning to its roots as an Asia-focussed trade lender, though investors will have to wait almost three years to feel the effect.

UK taxpayers hurt more by EU split than HSBC exit

May 19, 2015

Deutsche Bank and its rivals could move operations out of London if Britons vote to leave the EU. That would dent the main source of UK tax from the financial sector - income tax on bankers. It’s a bigger loss than reduced bank levy receipts from HSBC moving its head office.

HSBC revival overshadowed by existential questions

May 5, 2015

Better investment banking revenue and fewer bad loans boosted the $194 bln bank’s quarterly results. That’s a welcome respite from the Swiss tax furore. Still, long-term fortunes rest on decisions about its shape, head office location and UK business. None will be resolved soon.

FX fines are wake-up call on self-policing

November 12, 2014

The $3.4 bln settlement for five banks works out on average at 20 pct higher than Libor – because the firms failed to mend their ways. Regulators are seeking yet tougher internal controls. Banks have a last chance to show they can treat clients fairly.

UK banks have much to fear from latest probe

By Chris Hughes
July 18, 2014

Britain’s top antitrust watchdog has warned lenders to expect a full-blown competition investigation. Forced divestments would be a surprising outcome. But given the persistence of concern in spite of past probes, investors should brace for radical, profit-sapping remedies.

HSBC looks like best of a bad bunch

February 28, 2012

Scale, diversification and good management helped HSBC only so much in 2011. There were bright spots in Asia and parts of the investment bank. But the impact of the euro zone crisis was more powerful. While HSBC is bigger and better, it is, after all, still a bank.

HSBC held back by developed-world headaches

July 30, 2012

The bank’s earnings are strong enough to absorb a $2 billion charge for mis-selling in the UK and money-laundering in the U.S. After HSBC’s sub-prime woes, it’s another reputational stain. Yet the setback will only reinforce the bank’s strategic shift to emerging markets.