Last week HSBC announced what was the first of what is expected to be a number of changes to the executive management of the Group following the announcement of Stuart Gulliver as the new CEO. As further evidence of HSBC’s focus on the Far East another senior executive will be moving to Hong Kong from London. A new role is being created, Head of world-wide Retail Banking and Wealth Management and Paul Thurston, currently based in the UK will be its first incumbent. This comes at a time when the wealth of Asia’s millionaires overtakes that of Europe’s, so the move is rational for a bank with such a strong presence both in wealth management and the Far East.
Increasingly Europe is becoming less and less significant to HSBC, with net profits from Europe representing less that 25%. The UK representing only a portion of this. With the move of more senior executives to Hong Kong, increasing taxation and regulation in the UK, the review of HSBC’s Headquarters location in 2011 may be far from a formality.
Would the last person out of HSBC’s head office in Canary Wharf, please switch the lights off.