UK banks hit by over-regulation, says HSBC boss

BRITAIN has penalised its banking sector by attempting to tighten regulations too quickly after the financial crisis, the head of Europe’s biggest bank said yesterday.

HSBC chief executive Michael Geoghegan said he accepts that the industry needs new regulation but criticised the world’s failure to coordinate measures to try to prevent a repeat of the crisis.

He said: “Maybe the UK is moving too fast over regulation change and places like New York, Paris and the rest of the world are actually staying behind – and the UK is penalised.”

Speaking to Sky News, Geoghegan, warned the 50 per cent top rate of income tax, which takes effect from April, could drive bankers away from the UK. “I think when you start moving taxation for political reasons, the trouble is that it is an industry that can move. I know a large number of bankers are moving out of the UK.”

Geoghegan is himself relocating from London to Hong Kong, but said that this was because HSBC’s biggest business is in Asia.