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HSBC, StanChart may think of leaving London

There are reports that British banks HSBC and Standard Chartered may be leaving London for new offices in Asia. The two beleagured banks are looking at this option because of the steep hike in tax on UK banks. It is these banks’ investors who are saying they want the two banks to do a thorough analysis on whether it makes sense to move after Britain raised the bank tax by a third last month. The tax has increased eight times since being introduced in 2010 to ensure banks make a ‘fair contribution’ after the financial crisis. The latest rise was seen as a popular move ahead of Britain’s 7 May election. In fact, HSBC had said four years ago that it will review its domicile in 2015. The banks, which have been making most of their profits in Asia, face a combined $2 billion bill this year under the annual UK bank tax, up from $1.5 billion last year and almost double what they paid in 2013.

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