Europe’s leading bank HSBC has today hit out at rumours of a planned move of its headquarters from London to Hong Kong, suggesting that media claims of a certain relocation were ‘speculative and presumptuous’.

HSBC, Europe’s largest bank has said that widespread suggestions it was imminently planning to relocate its headquarters from London to Hong Kong are without foundation, suggesting that no firm decision has been made on moving operations overseas.

The financial press had reported that an HSBS relocation was a ‘very likely’ possibility, claims which the bank says are false and not indicative of any pre-planned decision to move from London.

The rumours come following an increasingly tight climate for banks operating in the UK, as a result of political pressure in response to the recent banking bailout, with UK headquartered banks charged a banking levy in addition to a range of other requirements and restrictions.

HSBC management has nevertheless been critical of the government’s approach to regulating the banks, which it feels are punitive and unnecessarily restrictive, both in terms of capital requirements and the banking levy.

While refuting rumours of the relocation, HSBC did note that the harsh climate for banks in the UK was a cause for concern for the board and HSBC shareholders.