Caption: HSBC UK’s chief executive Ian Stuart with Feng Shui architect Jacques Rosset

Caption: HSBC UK’s chief executive Ian Stuart with Feng Shui architect Jacques Rosset

A traditional feng shui ceremony to formally introduce HSBC’s iconic lions into Birmingham has taken place at the new head office for HSBC UK in Centenary Square, Birmingham.  

The ceremony opens the building to the natural energy flow of ch’i to establish a feeling of harmony, wellness and good destiny, while the lions symbolise success and prosperity.

In line with feng shui tradition, eight lucky coins along with handwritten wishes for the bank’s future will be buried under the lions for protection. 

The bronze guardians, nicknamed “Stephen” and “Stitt” after two HSBC senior managers in the 1920s, have a proud heritage in the bank, standing guard at HSBC head offices around the globe, including Hong Kong and London. Because of the positive feng shui associated with the lions, people often stroke the their noses and paws for luck. 

The new Birmingham head office for HSBC UK – which will be ready for occupation in October - signals a return to its Midlands roots. HSBC acquired Midland Bank in 1992, adopting the HSBC brand globally in 1999. In 2015 the HSBC Group announced it would establish its HSBC UK head office in Birmingham. 

Ian Stuart, chief executive of HSBC UK, which is the overall sponsor of Birmingham Press Club,  said that “Stephen” and “Stitt” had been formally welcomed to their new home in Centenary Square in a ceremony which linked the bank’s  international history with its Birmingham heritage. 

“These iconic lions are not only a significant part of our shared HSBC history, they’re also symbols of good fortune, growth and prosperity – things we hope to bring to the UK, and Birmingham,” he added.

Jacques Rosset, Feng Shui architect, who conducted the ceremony said: “Feng Shui is the Chinese art of geomancy which originated in the Far East and considers that the energy flow of Chi is present everywhere in our environment. The good circulation of Chi is establishing a feeling of harmony and wellness and contributes to good health and good destiny. HSBC’s lions symbolise success and prosperity which protect the family, the entrance of homes and public buildings. I am proud to be able to release this positive energy at HSBC UK’s new headquarters in Birmingham and wish employees, visitors and the surrounding area continued and long-standing prosperity.”

HSBC UK serves around 14.5 million customers in the UK and employs approximately 32,000 people. It offers a complete range of personal, premier and private banking services including bank accounts and mortgages. It also provides commercial banking for small to medium businesses and large corporates.