In a move that underscores the growing importance of Asia and emerging markets for global financial institutions, the British bank HSBC said Friday that its chief executive would relocate to Hong Kong next year.
HSBC, which is based in London and is Europe’s largest bank, said it would retain its base in Britain and that the move of its chief executive did not mean it was “pulling away from London,” The New York Times’ Bettina Wassener writes.
“We will operate from two equally strategically important centers for the company,” Stephen Green, the group’s chairman, said in a statement.
Mr. Green and two executive directors will remain London-based, while the chief executive, Michael Geoghegan, will travel regularly to London.
Still, Mr. Geoghegan’s move to Hong Kong, planned for February, signals Asia’s economic ascendancy, especially in the wake of the financial crisis, which has left much of Asia comparatively unscathed.
Numerous non-Asian companies have rushed to step up their exposure to, or presence in, Asia’s emerging economies. China and India are set to post solid growth rates this year despite sharp drops in exports.
“The move further positions the group for the shift in the world’s center of economic gravity from West to East,” the bank said, “while HSBC’s continued strong presence in major developed markets reflects the increasingly interconnected nature of the global economy and the profile of the group’s customers.”HSBC was founded in Hong Kong and Shanghai in 1865. About 30 percent of its shares are listed in Hong Kong, the bank’s hub for the region.
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