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article imageHSBC Chairman Speaks of Banks Owing 'Real World' an Apology

By Chris Dade     Oct 7, 2009 in Business
Stephen Green, Chairman of one of the world's largest banking groups HSBC, has spoken of how the banking world owes what he calls the "real world" an apology.
Speaking from Istanbul, where he has been attending the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, Mr Green talked of how the "banking industry has not covered itself in glory to say the least", adding "indeed the industry collectively owes the real world an apology for what has happened".
Mr Green, group Chairman of HSBC Holdings PLC, before that Chairman of HSBC Bank PLC, and, says The Standard, a Church of England priest, maintains that it is not just a question of regulations but rather that the banks need to "learn the lessons", some of which relate to "governance and ethics and culture within the industry".
However Mr Green emphasized that the world needs the banking industry and said that the assumption should not be made that all banks were " sinful or unattractive", asserting that most bankers did "want to be doing a professional job".
In addition Mr Green feels that regulators too had lessons they could learn from the global financial crisis.
And Mr Green did practice what he is now "preaching" regarding good governance when a stock market slump occurred in 2001 and 2002, The Standard explaining how at the time he canceled the bonuses of all his staff at HSBC's investment banking and markets operations.
Their levels of liquidity, principally the ability to either dispose of assets without affecting their value or convert the assets in to cash, are another matter Mr Green believes the banks need to pay more attention to in the future.
According to the BBC, to whom Mr Green was speaking whilst in Turkey, the HSBC group Chairman also commented on his bank's plans to relocate Chief Executive Michael Geoghan from London to Hong Kong.
Conceding that London was likely to lose market share to Asia, he believes that Asia is where "the centre of gravity of the world's economy is shifting", Mr Green nevertheless said that London, HSBC's headquarters are in the English capital, would remain an important center for the financial industry.
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