With 90% of its profits coming from Asia, the bank’s ultimate decision will surely be to follow Beijing’s lead
A new (ish) chief executive is at the helm of HSBC, so it’s time for another bout of corporate introspection. “We’re going to stop trying to be everything to everyone,” says Noel Quinn. Was that – finally – a recognition that life as a socially responsible UK-regulated bank is impossible to square with the commercial necessity to dance to Beijing’s tune when Hong Kong’s last freedoms are being squashed?
Actually, no. Quinn’s version of HSBC’s longstanding “pivot to Asia” strategy was merely about shedding retail banking operations in the US and France. The UK operation is staying put, apparently. For good measure, he added an ode to the joys of the soulless Canary Wharf.
A demerger is HSBC's only way to solve its Hong Kong problem