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Standard Life ‘would support’ HSBC exit as shareholders

  • 23/11/2015
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Standard Life ‘would support’ HSBC exit as shareholders
One of HSBC’s biggest investors, Standard Life, says it will support HSBC should it decide to move its headquarters out of the UK.

Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme, David Cumming head of equities at Standard Life, said that banks were ‘losing patience’ with ongoing intervention to determine if sufficient capital is held on their balance sheets.

According to the BBC, Standard Life owns 1% of HSBC.

Earlier this year HSBC said it was looking into moving its headquarters out of the UK, with an increase in the bank levy, announced in the March Budget, cited as a main factor in deciding this. In his July Budget, George Osborne announced the bank levy would be cut gradually over the next few years, but will be replaced by an 8% tax surcharge on banks’ profits.

Cummings said it was important to have stress tests and prudent capital in place but explained that HSBC was being put at a ‘competitive disadvantage’.

“I think HSBC, who could move, are very close to losing patience with this never ending process…to be honest if they did move, a lot of shareholders like ourselves would be supportive of that, given the current situation in terms of regulation,” he said.

“Given there is no clear end point in terms of ever increasing capital requirements, and the fact that they are being put at a competitive [dis]advantage and that we will see better growth, earnings and dividend prospects unless the regulator changes tack, then logically we would be supportive of a move if they choose to do that.”

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