HSBC Holdings plc is a British multinational banking and financial services holding company. It is the 7th largest bank in the world, and the largest in Europe, with total assets of US$2.558 trillion (as of December 2018). HSBC traces its origin to a hong in Hong Kong, and its present form was established in London by the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation to act as a new group holding company in 1991. The origins of the bank lie mainly in Hong Kong and to a lesser extent in Shanghai, where branches were first opened in 1865. The HSBC name is derived from the initials of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. The company was first formally incorporated in 1866. The company continues to see both the United Kingdom and Hong Kong as its “home markets”.
HSBC has around 3,900 offices in 67 countries and territories across Africa, Asia, Oceania, Europe, North America, and South America, and around 38 million customers. As of 2014, it was the world’s sixth-largest public company, according to a composite measure by Forbes magazine.
HSBC is organised within four business groups: Commercial Banking, Global Banking and Markets (investment banking), Retail Banking and Wealth Management, and Global Private Banking.
HSBC has a dual primary listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the Hang Seng Index and the FTSE 100 Index. As of 6 July 2012, it had a market capitalisation of £102.7 billion, the second-largest company listed on the London Stock Exchange, after Royal Dutch Shell. It has secondary listings on the New York Stock Exchange, Euronext Paris, and the Bermuda Stock Exchange.
In February 2015, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released information about the business conduct of HSBC under the title Swiss Leaks. The ICIJ alleges that the bank profited from doing business with tax evaders and other clients. The BBC reported that HSBC had put pressure on media not to report about the controversy, with British newspaper The Guardian claiming HSBC advertising had been put “on pause” after The Guardian’s coverage of the matter. Peter Oborne, chief political commentator at The Daily Telegraph, resigned from the paper; in an open letter, he claimed the newspaper suppressed negative stories and dropped investigations into HSBC because of the bank’s advertising.
In 2016, HSBC was sued by Mexican families involved in deaths by organized-crime gangs for processing funds (“money laundering”) for the Sinaloa cartel.
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