Finance Minister Edward Scicluna will wait until further internal discussions within HSBC, that are believed to be taking place in June, to be able to provide an update on the HSBC situation in Malta.
On 4 April, a report on Bloomberg claimed that according to people with knowledge of the discussions, Chief Executive Officer John Flint and Chairman Mark Tucker are considering shrinking the bank’s global imprint even further as part of a plan set to be revealed over coming months. The Minister was referring to a potential June meeting that was mentioned in the report.
Flint, who took over in February, is reviewing as many as a quarter of the 67 countries the bank operates in and is mulling an exit or sale from smaller consumer operations such as Bermuda, Malta and Uruguay.
Discussions about HSBC’s strategy are at an early stage and no final decisions have been made, according to the report.
Asked by The Malta Independent yesterday, Scicluna said that the government holds regular meetings with the bank and will be keeping a close eye on developments.
He insisted that it was important not to follow speculation and that the process for a bank to sell its assets was long.
“It took three years for a small share in a small retail bank to be sold, given that the ECB and the government have to accept whoever takes up those shares, let alone the time it would take for a big bank like HSBC,” he said.
Following the initial report, Scicluna told the press that the government would hold discussions with HSBC to ensure that the bank would keep them informed regarding any new developments.
Scicluna had also revealed that HSBC had also informed him and Prime Minister Joseph Muscat about the article prior to its publication.
HSBC Bank Malta has said that it is operating on a business as usual basis at the bank’s Annual General Meeting on 12 April.
Original article found on The Malta Independent