Geoghegan in new HK base

HSBC chief executive Michael Geoghegan yesterday began work in his new principal office in Hong Kong, after officially completing his relocation to the region from London.

Geoghegan’s move, which was announced last September, is intended to underpin the bank’s strategy of focusing on the emerging markets of Asia.

“This is a key market for HSBC in our most strategically important region,” Geoghegan said yesterday. “Hong Kong maintains its leading position as the world’s freest economy, which is an enormous credit to its people, its prudent government and pragmatic regulators.”

HSBC was yesterday keen to emphasise that the group will remain domiciled in the UK and has “no plans to move”.

Geoghegan will maintain an office here, while group chairman Stephen Green, finance director Douglas Flint and Stuart Gulliver, chief executive of the bank’s global banking and markets division, continue to be based in London.

Geoghegan’s move also marks a return to HSBC’s roots, since the bank was first founded in Hong Kong and Shanghai 144 years ago.

The group said at a board meeting in Taipei in November that it is preparing to boost its China presence by around 20 per cent this year, adding 15-20 new branches to its existing network of about 100.