By Marcus Leach

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has urged banking giant HSBC to maintain their presence in the capital amid strong speculation that they are set to re-locate to Hong Kong.

Whilst no official decision on the possibility of HSBC re-locating to Hong Kong has yet been made it seems increasingly more likely. The main argument for leaving London centers around costs, which according to HSBC have become “unacceptable”.

With the government increasing bank levies to £2.5bn, a move that has outraged the leading banks in the UK, HSBC could look to avoid the levies by basing themselves in Hong Kong.

A spokesman for the Mayor of London released a statement urging HSBC to look past the bank levy and consider other possible advantages of staying put in London.

“London’s dominance as the global capital of finance cannot be taken for granted,” the spokesman told The Sunday Telegraph. “We need to provide a consistently competitive environment to attract and maintain the best.

“We urge HSBC, however, to recognise that London has enormous long-term advantages that others cannot match.”

HSBC has denied any deal to re-locate has been done, but there is increasing scrutiny and pressure from major shareholders, the majority of whom are based outside of the UK.

“We are however, in light of possible regulatory changes and additional costs such as bank levy, being increasingly asked by shareholders and investors about the likely additional cost of being headquartered in the UK,” A HSBC statement said.