HSBC could move its HQ out of London following a review into its “regulatory and structural reforms”.
The news comes after an investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) made allegations that the HSBC’s private bank helped wealthy clients hide millions in its Swiss bank accounts, while dodging taxes in their home countries.
At today’s annual meeting, the bank’s chairman Douglas Flint, will say: “As I said at our informal meeting in Hong Kong on Monday, we are beginning to see the final shape of regulation and of structural reform, including the requirement to ring fence in the UK.
“As part of the broader strategic review taking place, the board has therefore now asked management to commence work to look at where the best place is for HSBC to be headquartered in this new environment.
“The question is a complex one and it is too soon to say how long this will take or what the conclusion will be; but the work is underway.”
HSBC set up its headquarters in the UK in 1992 after acquiring Midland Bank. It employs 47,000 people in the UK and paid billions in UK tax in 2014.