FTSE 100 banking giants HSBC Holdings Plc (LON:HSBA) and Standard Chartered Plc (LON:STAN) has called for peaceful resolution to the anti-government protests in Hong Kong, The Financial Times has reported.
Until yesterday, the two Asia-focused banks had remained silent about the protests that have rocked Hong Kong in recent months. However, the lenders broke their silence on Thursday by publishing full-page advertisements in local newspapers.
According to the FT, the HSBC adverts, which were published in five local-language papers, expressed the bank’s deep concerns about the recent events and “condemned violence of any kind”. The lender argued that the rule of law was vital for maintaining Hong Kong’s status as a financial centre, adding: “That is why we fully support the ambition to resolve the present situation peacefully.”
The FT also said that it had seen an internal memo sent to HSBC staff, according to which the bank did not intend to issue adverts in English. From the memo it was not clear whether the ads were published under pressure from China’s government.
“We are not changing our apolitical stance,” the memo said, as quoted by the FT.
Meanwhile, the Standard Chartered advert called for an end to the violence and return to order. “We resolutely support ‘one country, two systems’, and support the special administration government in its effective maintenance of social order and security,” the ad reads.
Share is both HSBC and StanChart has been little changed in today’s trading. As of 15:33 BST, the HSBC share price was down 0.1% at 593.10 GBX. At the same time, the Standard Chartered share price was at 622.80, having lost 0.4% since the start of the session.