[WATCH] HSBC informed Finance Minister in advance about report suggesting bank’s exit from Malta

Finance Minister Edward Scicluna said the government was monitoring developments but added he would not speculate at this stage

Finance Minister Edward Scicluna on possible HSBC exit

Finance Minister Edward Scicluna was told by HSBC that a report in Bloomberg was going to name Malta as one of the countries HSBC was considering an exit from as part of a new global strategy. 

The minister said he had informed the Prime Minister about the development and would be holding meetings with the bank in order to monitor any further developments.

Read also: Banking union says reports of HSBC retreat from Malta ‘purely unwarranted speculation’

Scicluna stressed that there was only speculation at this point and that he knew “as much as everyone else”. 

He said that while he had no reason to doubt Bloomberg’s reporting, he had no information about whether the meeting in which the possibility was brought up had taken place, or what had been said. 

“If it happened it means they are still in discussion,” he said. “There is a new CEO and he is looking at another model for banks in the over 60 countries HSBC has a presence in.”

He stressed the government could not react to a speculation arising from a news report. 

“Obviously there will be discussions with HSBC for them to keep the government informed and we will take it from there,” he said, adding that the country should not rush to conclusions at this stage. The minister noted that the development was one based on HSBC’s global outlook. 

“We have a warning and one must keep it under observation, but I must say, this is not the first time there have been discussions at global level where a strategy like this is decided,” he said, adding that the priority at this stage, was for Malta to be prepared for any eventuality.

Asked whether it was a worrying development, Scicluna said he could not speculate on behalf of the government. He insisted that if the bank were to eventually leave there was a long process that needed to be followed and it was still early days to be commenting in this regard.

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