Banking empires of British origin are fading
The UK banking sector is not just an attractive destination for a successful entrepreneur, but also a strategically advantageous point on the financial map of the world for asset management. Money is flocking to key megacities of our planet, among which London is also listed, but in recent times it takes a lot of effort, money and time to remain a client of a London bank.
Last year was a particularly difficult year not only for the largest banks in the UK, but also for the entire banking sector in this country. The fact is that after the UK, under the auspices of global deoffshorization, began a massive project to achieve maximum transparency of the entire financial sector, both at home and in its overseas territories, the banking sector became the first to experience pressure and change the previously established “ rules of the game.
The offshore world is “hand and foot” connected with banks, because banks implement plans for offshore companies that actively transfer funds from one country to another, therefore, if you want to make life more difficult for offshore companies, you need to put pressure on the banks.
The first on the list of “victims” of limitless transparency is HSBC, whose problems started back in 2007, but were silent and carefully hidden until early 2015.
It all started in 2007 when one of the specialists of the HSBC IT department stole a database with HSBC clients in Switzerland and decided to sell it for 2.5 million. Herve Falciani (Hervé Falciani) was very enterprising and found a buyer in the face of the government and the Tax Service of France. After that, Falchiani was caught, and the data was provided by French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde to foreign tax authorities, including the tax service of her royal majesty. And only now the “Lagarde list” was published thanks to the Consortium of International Investigative Journalism and 140 journalists from 45 countries of the world.
Starting from 2012, the consortium has literally become a “luminary” for tax specialists and an “inquisition” for the entire offshore financial world. Starting from the declassification of data on the British Virgin Islands, which caused resonance around the world and advanced the development of the deoffshorization process to a new level, ending with the declassification of Luxembourg tax decisions, and then on HSBC activities.
Speaking of HSBC, everything is very complicated, confusing and ambiguous. The banking group has fallen out of favor more than once, starting with the United States Revenue Service (IRS), when last year the bank paid about $ 618 million to prevent an investigation by the UK and US tax authorities in the case of currency exchange manipulation, and ending with a five-year agreement of 2012 with US authorities. Within the framework of this agreement, HSBC received a deferment from prosecution by the US authorities after admitting that the bank handles drug trafficking through Mexico, and after HSBC transferred all funds from countries to which sanctions were imposed, including Iran.
All this undoubtedly “tramples down” the reputation of the bank, which brings with it the rapid loss of customers and the outflow of investments from the bank. Despite apologies to their clients and the UK Treasury Committee, which called on HSBC Chairman Stuart Gulliver to explain the declassified information case, which in its report tried to explain the reasons for what happened and apologized for past mistakes:
“We have to show that the society we serve expects more from us.”
“Therefore, we offer our sincere apologies.”
But it still can not affect the reduction of HSBC’s annual profit. So in early March, the bank announced a decrease in profits by 17% as a result of the payment of numerous fines related to the activities of the bank.
The HSBC Banking Group was established in 1865 to finance trade between Asia and the West. Today, HSBC is the second largest bank in the world and provides its services to more than 52 million customers worldwide. This is a huge number of departments, branches and representative offices, which are becoming more and more difficult to manage. In consequence of this, Gulliver explained that the size of the bank is becoming unmanageable, so the group plans to reduce its size and assets in countries such as the USA, Brazil, Mexico and Turkey.
UK banking conglomerates are going through difficult times. The decline provoked by increased control and the authorities’ desire to achieve maximum fulfillment of tax obligations by all UK tax residents leads to financial losses for British banks, as well as to a deterioration in reputation, customer loss, investment and control over what is happening. Among those affected was not only HSBC titanium banking, but Standard Bank well-known throughout the world.