HSBC share price: CEO Gulliver apologises for failings at Swiss unit

on Feb 25, 2015
Updated: Oct 21, 2019

HSBC Holdings Plc’s (LON:HSBA) chief executive officer Stuart Gulliver has apologised to lawmakers for failings at the lender’s Swiss-based private banking unit, which allegedly allowed clients to evade taxes. Gulliver and HSBC chairman Douglas Flint were questioned today by the UK Treasury Committee, in relation to the tax-dodging scandal that broke earlier this month after documents stolen by former HSBC employee were leaked to the media. The documents revealed the names of thousands of clients of the Swiss unit, which had allegedly used the bank to conceal assets from tax authorities.

“It was clearly unacceptable. We very much regret this,” Gulliver told the committee with regards to practices at the Swiss unit in the mid-2000s. “I am responsible for clearing it up. I have made substantial changes,” he added, as quoted by Reuters.
The Treasury Committee has pledged to get to the bottom of the scandal. “What we want to know is just how deep this went,” John Thurso, member of the committee, told CNBC ahead of the hearings. “Was this just somebody simply in Switzerland busking it, or is this an endemic culture within the bank?”

Gulliver also faced questions about his own Swiss account, which became subject of recent media reports. He denied that the account was intended as facilitating his own ability to dodge tax, saying he had paid all his UK taxes and opened the account so colleagues could not see his finances.
In today’s trading, HSBC shares were down one percent at 575.82p, as of 15:15 UTC. The stock has fallen 5.4 percent since the start of the year.
According to the Financial Times, as of February 24, 2015, the consensus forecast amongst 38 polled investment analysts covering HSBC has it that investors should hold their position in the company. This stance has been maintained since the sentiment of investment analysts deteriorated on November 26, 2014.
As of 16:11 GMT, Wednesday, 25 February, HSBC Holdings plc share price is 577.65p.