One of Britain's most famous fund managers has sold his stake in HSBC after becoming concerned that the banking giant faces a raft of hefty fines related to Libor and currency manipulation.
In a blog posting on his company's website, Neil Woodford made a bold declaration that the possibility that HSBC will face billions of pounds worth of fines, related to Libor and FX rigging, is too much of a risk for his fund to bear.
"In particular, I am worried that the ongoing investigation into the historic manipulation of Libor and foreign exchange markets could expose HSBC to significant financial penalties," said Woodford.
"Not only are these potentially serious offences in the eyes of the regulator, but HSBC is very liable to pay a substantial fine. The size of any potential fine is unquantifiable, so this represents an unquantifiable risk.
"Nevertheless, a substantial fine could hamper HSBC's ability to grow its dividend, in my view. I have therefore sold the fund's position in HSBC, reinvesting the proceeds into parts of the portfolio in which I have greater conviction."
According to the company's CF Woodford Equity Income Fund's factsheet, it had 2.68% worth of HSBC shares by the end of July.
HSBC has declined to comment on Woodford's blog.
HSBC stumped up £1.1bn (€1.4bn, $1.9bn) in December 2012 following a US-led money laundering probe.
However, it, as well as a number of other banks, are still under formal investigation for allegations related to the manipulation of key foreign exchange or interest rates.
While authorities have not completed their probes into HSBC over allegations of Libor fixing and FX rigging, a number of other banks, such as Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, and UBS have settled for millions of pounds in fines.