HSBC tries delicate balance to keep London and Beijing happy

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The investment bank recently obtained approval to take 100% ownership of its securities joint venture in China, joining an industry-wide campaign to gain a foothold in the country.

“You’d expect me to say this, but we’re huge bulls on Asia,” Stevenson says.

But a former senior HSBC executive says it’s “hard to be successful if all the eggs are in the Chinese basket when they are regulated and governed in the UK.” Tucker did not convince the market on this point. [given the share price has dropped in recent years]. “

Some, meanwhile, are hoping the UK will remain attractive as a place of business, not just a base.

“The hope is that the rise in UK interest rates will make the UK a more significant contributor to the group’s profits, but this is starting from a weak base,” said Ian Gordon, banking analyst at Investec.

For Stevenson, the biggest worry is about new variants of Covid – an issue that could apply anywhere in the world.

He is pushing back questions over Hong Kong’s strict travel restrictions, which require visitors from 25 countries, including the UK and the US, to stay in a hotel room for three weeks.

“A lot of people are happy to move to Hong Kong. If we go down [to Hong Kong] we’re just going for a long period of time. For us, the most important border to reopen is the border with mainland China, ”he said, arguing that he also cannot visit his home country, New Zealand. “The Hong Kong government is doing what it thinks is right for its people.”

This puts HSBC at odds with the Asia Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, a leading financial lobby group, which has warned that the former British colony’s zero approach to Covid could hurt its status as financial hub.

“We have no problem convincing people to interview us,” Stevenson says.


HSBC supports Hong Kong’s strict Covid rules

HSBC has supported a strict Covid elimination regime imposed by the Communist Hong Kong government, despite warnings from other financial firms that it risks damaging the territory’s international status.

Ewen Stevenson, the bank’s chief financial officer, broke with other Western companies to highlight his support for a rule that requires visitors from 25 countries, including the UK and the US, to stay in a room. hotel for three weeks.

Speaking as HSBC unveiled an increase in its pre-tax profit to more than $ 5 billion (£ 3.6 billion) for the third quarter of 2021, Mr Stevenson said: “A lot of people are happy to moving to Hong Kong.

“If we go down [to Hong Kong] we’re just going for a long period of time. For us, the most important border to reopen is the border with mainland China.

“I’m from New Zealand, if you are not New Zealander you cannot approach New Zealand. The Hong Kong government is doing what it thinks is right for its people.”


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