HSBC and Goldman stoke fears over European exodus

HSBC’S incoming chief executive Stuart Gulliver yesterday reignited fears that the bank may move its headquarters if it is forced to split its retail and investment operations, firing another warning shot across the government’s bows in his first comments on the matter since being appointed to head the bank.

Gulliver, speaking outside an HSBC board meeting in Shanghai, deliberately refused to throw his support unequivocally behind staying in the UK, saying: “We haven’t reached a decision on whether to move the headquarters or not. If we ever come to that decision, that’s the point at which we will evaluate.”

His comments appeared to put him in a noticeably less conciliatory position than outgoing chairman Stephen Green, who told reporters the bank has no plans to relocate to Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs suggested the group could withdraw from Europe if the crackdown on banks gets worse.

Lloyd Blankfein told a Eurofi conference in Brussels yesterday that “mismatched regulation” across regions could force the bank into countries with less onerous rules, according to the Financial Times.