HSBC investors questioning London HQ, Geoghegan says

JPMORGAN may be moving to the Wharf to stay, but other banks are still uncertain whether London remains the ideal home.

Faced with the government’s threat of further banking levies, bonus taxes and regulation, HSBC investors are reconsidering London’s appeal.

Former chief executive Michael Geoghegan is the latest to warn that HSBC’s shareholders have been questioning whether the bank should remain headquartered in London. In an interview with the Telegraph, Geoghegan said investors were increasingly focused on London’s competitiveness – and costs – relative to other centres.

“Shareholders are taking more of an interest and beginning to ask ‘What is the cost to HSBC of the bank being located here?’” he said.

Geoghegan’s words echo incoming chief executive Stuart Gulliver, who has said several times over the past three months that the bank, while preferring to stay in the UK, would consider a move. The bank reviews its head office location every three years.

HSBC sources told CityA.M.: “It is our preference to stay in London and we have been crystal clear on that. But shareholders are questioning the economic viability of the bank remaining here in the UK and we are considering that.”