Following the announcement by HSBC today that they are undertaking a review of where best to headquarter the bank, Simon Walker, Director General of the Institute of Directors, called on politicians of all parties to pay attention to the warning:
“As they digest the news that HSBC is considering moving its headquarters away from the UK, politicians should remember the words of the Emperor Tiberius: ‘it is the part of the good shepherd to shear his flock, not skin it’. In the modern, global economy businesses have an obligation to their shareholders to think about where it is best to base themselves in the long-term interests of the company. This is why it’s vital the parties thoroughly examine the implications of their policies.
“The IoD has been broadly supportive of new regulation in the financial sector, particularly measures designed to hold key individuals to account. However, there have been instances where the regulatory pendulum has swung too far and this, taken alongside the ever-increasing bank levy, has clearly given the board of HSBC reason to review whether the UK remains the most attractive and supportive business environment.
“From uncertainty over the UK’s relationship with Europe, to the threat of higher taxes on companies and individuals, nobody can be surprised that major international organisations keep their relationship with the UK under review. This warning from one of the UK’s biggest companies should force politicians to pay heed to the effects of both their policies and their rhetoric, and to take seriously the threat of a major withdrawal from the British economy.”