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HSBC Opts to Keep Headquarters in London

02/14/2016 | 06:06pm US/Eastern
By Margot Patrick and Julie Steinberg 

LONDON--HSBC Holdings PLC on Sunday opted to stay in London rather than move to Hong Kong or elsewhere.

HSBC cited the U.K.'s economic importance and respected regulation as reasons to stay and said London is "ideally positioned to be the home base for a global financial institution such as HSBC."

The board decision after a ten-month review of its headquarters was unanimous, the bank said in a statement.

To reach the conclusion to stay put, HSBC's board weighed up how regulators, governments and tax officials in the world's biggest financial centers might treat the bank now and in decades to come. Its decision signals that it thinks it can cope with European Union bank regulation, and isn't unduly concerned about a coming vote by Britons on staying in the EU.

Asia will remain at the heart of the group's strategy, HSBC said.

Countries from Jamaica to Canada courted HSBC, a lynchpin in the world's financial system because of its $2.67 trillion balance sheet and role in global trade. Former government officials, geopolitical strategists, accountants and lawyers were all enlisted to give advice to HSBC's 20-person board, who hail from half a dozen countries and include former financial regulators among bank veterans Chairman Douglas Flint and Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver.

Write to Margot Patrick at margot.patrick@wsj.com and Julie Steinberg at julie.steinberg@wsj.com

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