By Jason Theodorou

Standard Chartered may move its headquarters out of the UK, as a mix of regulations and steep taxes have made London a less convenient base for the international finance organisation.

The bank reported strong first-half financial results, which showed a 10% increase in pre-tax profits to $3.11 billion (£1.96 billion). The profits represented an impressive new record for Standard Chartered, and represented the latest in a series of excellent annual results from the bank.

Chief executive Peter Sands said: "There is no doubt that the arguments for London have weakened to other centres... Our preferred solution is to stay where we are, but we don't want to be headquartered in the UK if it represents a significant competitive disadvantage, and there is a danger of that". Mr. Sands hinted that investors had questioning the bank's decision to locate within the UK.

Mr. Sands has voiced concern over the gulf that has opened between the UK and markets including India, China and Hong Kong. He said he was not opposed to the introduction of a new banking commission in the UK, but was disappointed that better regulation had not extended across the globe.

India has become the bank's most profitable operation, with consumer banking profits doubling to $53 million, and wholesale banking profits increasing by $70 million to $571 million.

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