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Breakup of HSBC wouldn't be a shock
By Elisa Martinuzzi
Tuesday, January 26, 2021
HSBC Holdings, a London- and Hong Kong-listed banking behemoth with $3 trillion in assets, is among the handful of truly global lenders. But its future as an international firm -- a lynchpin of decades of trade between East and West -- is increasingly dictated by politics, not the laws of free-market economics.
An eventual breakup of the company along regional lines shouldn't take investors by surprise.
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Caught between the Chinese crackdown on Hong Kong and criticism from the U.K. and the U.S. that it's becoming a tool of Beijing, HSBC Chief Executive Officer Noel Quinn faced a rare grilling by British lawmakers today.
Pressed to explain the bank's ethics, political stances, and his own opinion of China's handling of dissidents in Hong Kong, Quinn tried hard to abstain from political judgments.
Unfortunately for him, lawmakers weren't buying it. They accused him and his bank of double standards and appeasing China. They had a point. ...
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