HSBC is to decide whether it is moving its headquarters out of London within days. The banking giant is expected to make the announcement on its HQ move ahead of its full-year reports out on 22 February.
According to a Telegraph report, investors as well as the bank's management are leaning more towards a decision in favour of staying in London. The case for moving out of London proved increasingly difficult to make as financial regulation is almost as tough everywhere across the world.
"The current government is a little more sympathetic towards the City," Aberdeen Asset Management's Richard Dunbar told BBC's Wake Up To Money. The Conservative government's more cooperative stance towards the finance industry is one of the reasons why the review into an HQ move has taken longer than expected.
In April 2015, chairman Douglas Flint first told investors and the press at HSBC's annual general meeting about the considered move.
"As part of the broader strategic review taking place, the board has therefore now asked management to commence work to look at where the best place is for HSBC to be headquartered," he said. "The question is a complex one and it is too soon to say how long this will take or what the conclusion will be, but the work is under way."
Although Flint signalled that the consideration and the decision process would take a long time, it was largely expected HSBC would come to a conclusion in 2015. Initially, the main argument against staying in London was the bank levy and HSBC was simply expected to move back to its roots in Hong Kong.
However, after Chancellor George Osborne said he was to slowly reduce the bank levy in the UK, to abolish it eventually. The move was expected to make the choice for HSBC a little easier, but the overall environment for the City in London was taken into consideration by the board. The decision process got more complicated as Canada, Frankfurt and Singapore were also named as possible HQ targets.
On 22 February, HSBC is due to report on the past financial year. The bank has lost almost a quarter of its listed value. Its share price fell 0.71% on Monday morning. It was announced on 6 February that the bank has to write off $470m (£323m) in settlement over mortgage sales ahead of the financial crash in 2008.