Brexit? It won’t effect HSBC’s commitment to Birmingham

Global bank HSBC – sponsor of Birmingham Press Club - has re-affirmed its commitment to the city, saying that despite the Brexit vote nothing has happened to change its mind about plans for a new retail banking arm.

And in an interview with The Birmingham Post, Antonio Simoes (pictured), chief executive of HSBC Bank, has revealed that staff from around the globe are showing interest in relocation.

Mr Simoes, the man spearheading the move, said there had been plenty of interest in jobs in the city but particularly from staff currently working in Dubai and Hong Kong.

HSBC revealed in 2015 that it had selected the Arena Central development in Broad Street, taking out a 250-year lease, to be the home of its new ring-fenced retail banking arm (later named HSBC UK), which is to be separated from its investment operations.

A topping out ceremony is expected to be held in the Spring, with staff expected to start moving into the building by early 2018 at the latest.

The split followed new laws passed in 2013 in the wake of the recession. These stated that certain banks should separate their retail and investment operations by January 1, 2019.

Around 350 staff have already moved or committed to move to Birmingham and, once the recruitment and relocation out of London is complete, HSBC will have around 3,500 staff working in Birmingham, including 1,000 head office roles formerly based in Canary Wharf.

Dame Clara Furse, the former London Stock Exchange chief executive, was recently announced as chairman of HSBC UK while several members of the senior leadership team, including chief risk officer Paul Seward and head of regulatory compliance Lucy Williams, are already in Birmingham.

Mr Simoes said HSBC's attitude to Birmingham and its commitment to the city had not wavered in the wake of last June's vote to leave the European Union. "There's been no affect from the outcome of the referendum. Our customers continue to trade as normal and my job as a chief executive is to support them. Our commitment to Birmingham as a bank has not changed after the Brexit vote,” he added.