HSBC and Standard Chartered hit 22-year lows on reports of moving illicit funds

on Sep 21, 2020
Updated: Feb 29, 2024
  • HSBC and Standard Chartered hit 22-year lows on reports of moving illicit funds.
  • The two banks tumbled about 3.6% in the stock market on media reports on Monday.
  • The European banks index as a whole was reported about 4% down on Monday.

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HSBC Holdings plc (LON: HSBA) and Standard Chartered plc (LON: STAN) tumbled in the stock market on Monday to the levels last seen in 1998 on media reports that the two banks along with others, including Deutsche Bank and Barclays, engaged in moving enormous amounts of allegedly illicit funds.

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The report said that red flags associated with the origin of the money were deliberately ignored as the banks moved funds over the past twenty years. HSBC reported its financial results for the fiscal first half in August that highlighted a 77% decline in its net profit.

Several financial firms, including banks, filed SARs (suspicious activity reports) with the United States Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the Department of Treasury. In related news, Standard Chartered offered UAE Amazon instalment plan last week.

HSBC and Standard Chartered tumbled about 3.6% in the stock market

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Shares of HSBC were reported trading about 3.6% down on Monday to hit the level last seen in 1998 during the Asian currency crisis. On a year to date basis, HSBC has now lost close to 50% in the stock market.

Standard Chartered, on the other hand, also lost 3.6% on Monday to a record-low in almost 22 years. Including the price action, Standard Chartered is now also down more than 50% in the stock market in 2020 so far. The European banks index, also known as .SX7P, as a whole, was reported about 4% down on Monday.

BuzzFeed News said that it received over 2,100 SARs in total that were in turn shared with ICIJ (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists) and several other media organisations. The SARs, however, are not sufficient proof of financial negligence from HSBC and Standard Chartered.

HSBC responded in a statement and said that the information that ICIJ has received is historical. In 2012, HSBC introduced stringent measures to uplift its ability to minimise financial crimes.

Standard Chartered’s response to media reports on Monday

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Standard Chartered also responded to the media reports and said:

“The bank took its responsibility to fight financial crime extremely seriously and have invested substantially in its compliance programmes.”

According to Barclays:

“The bank has complied with all its legal and regulatory obligations, including in relation to the U.S. sanctions.”

Of the four prominent banks alleged in media reports, HSBC is the largest one in terms of market cap with a value of £58.22 billion.


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