Aberdeen Asset Management chief executive Martin Gilbert predicts HSBC will keep its headquarters in the UK

Lauren Fedor
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Aberdeen Asset Management chief executive said HSBC will "probably on balance stay" in the UK (Source: Getty)

A top investor in HSBC has said that Europe's biggest bank is unlikely to move its headquarters from the UK.

"The logistics of moving their headquarters out of London are so vast," Aberdeen Asset Management chief executive Martin Gilbert told Bloomberg TV this morning. "I suspect much as they might want to move their headquarters, they will probably on balance stay here."

Aberdeen is the fifth-largest shareholder in HSBC.

HSBC first announced last April that it was reviewing whether to relocate from London, when the bank’s chairman Douglas Flint told shareholders at the annual meeting that the bank’s board had “asked management to commence work to look at where the best place is for HSBC to be headquartered” in light of new regulations and structural reforms, as well uncertainty over Britain’s European Union membership.

At the time, Flint did not indicate where HSBC was considering moving, but most investors believed the bank was eyeing up Hong Kong, where it had been headquartered until 1993.

In October, however, it was reported that the bank was also weighing the possibility of moving its headquarters to New York.

A final decision was expected to be completed before the end of last year, but the bank indicated in its third-quarter results that the decision would likely be delayed. HSBC is due to post its annual results on 22 February.

In November, another leading investor claimed that shareholders would support the bank if it decided to leave Britain.

David Cumming, head of equities at Standard Life Investments, told the BBC that banks were "losing patience" with regulators over growing capital requirements and the thought HSBC was "very, very close to losing patience with this never-ending process".

"A lot of shareholders, including ourselves, if they did move, we'd be supportive of that given the current situation in terms of regulation," Cumming said at the time.

Standard Life owns 1.5 per cent of HSBC.

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