7th March 2011
The Guardian reported that HSBC had told a major investor that "punitive tax and regulation" had made a move to China's financial region "more than likely".
But reports in the Sunday Telegraph were denied by the chairman Douglas Flint and chief executive Stuart Gulliver.
In a joint statement today they said: "London continues to be widely recognised as one of the world's leading international financial centres, a position it has built over many decades through deliberate policy action. We have been very clear that it is our preference to remain headquartered here.
"We are however, in light of possible regulatory changes and additional costs such as the bank levy, being increasingly asked by shareholders and investors about the likely additional cost of being headquartered in the UK.
HSBC, which stands for Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, is expected to decide in the autumn whether to keep its headquarters in the UK and will be a key test of the coalition's tax policies.
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, was reported in The Telegraph as urging HSBC not to move its headquarters.
A spokesman for the mayor said: "London's dominance as the global capital of finance cannot be taken for granted. We need to provide a consistently competitive environment to attract and maintain the best. We urge HSBC, however, to recognise that London has enormous long-term advantages that others cannot match."
On The Telegraph noticeboard ianbryan posts: "The problem with this item is that Boris has no credibility as a commentator, a mayor or anything else. It is just a cheap soundbite to make the less informed think he even cares"
jonathan101 writes: "It was always a Hong Kong bank long before it arrived in London and is only going back to the banks roots. "