HSBC (3)

HSBC has revealed it plans to keep its headquarters in London after deciding it "offered the best outcome for our customers and shareholders".

The Asia-focused banking giant was considering a move to Hong Kong, but growing economic concerns in China dissuaded it from a move.

Tax changes in the UK are also understood to have influenced the bank's decision. Prior to the general election, HSBC was paying more than £1 billion in a tax called the "bank levy". HSBC chief executive Stuart Gulliver had said that tax effectively wiped out its profits in the UK. But George Osborne changed that tax and now it affects HSBC far less.

Speaking to the BBC, HSBC chairman Douglas Flint said "it was important that there was a change in the scope of the levy".

He added: "A levy based on an international balance sheet was a disincentive for a global group, and we made that point ever since the start of the levy. It was good to see that the scope of the levy changed to being a domestic impost, and that was important."

HSBC said London's "internationally respected regulatory framework and legal system" was a factor in its decision, adding that the city is "home to a large pool of highly skilled, international talent".

The announcement also comes just weeks after the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) scrapped an inquiry into the culture of the banking sector in the UK. Some experts have suggested that extra taxes and scrutiny of the banks following the financial crisis amounted to 'banker bashing' which was sparking decisions like HSBC's considered move away from the UK.

HSBC's shares, which are listed in Hong Kong, rose 4% after the announcement.

Brexit influence

After claims that HSBC's possible move to Hong Kong played a significant role in changes the bank levy and the banking culture inquiry from various industry experts, the bank has not moved in on the EU referendum debate.

Although the bank will keep its headquarters in London, Douglas Flint said it could move 1,000 investment banking jobs from London to Paris in the event of a Brexit. He told the BBC that a reformed Europe was the "best answer", but stressed that the bank could move jobs out of the UK.