Brum note for Leeds as HSBC picks Birmingham for new UK base

CIVIC leaders in Birmingham are celebrating after HSBC announced the relocation of the head office of its UK retail bank to the city.

(AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

The move will see around 1,000 jobs transferred from London before 2019, the deadline UK regulators have laid down for major banks to separate their more risky investment banking divisions from traditional banking operations.

HSBC said it was in advanced negotiations to acquire a 250-year lease on a new 210,000 sq ft building in the centre of Birmingham.

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Sign up to our Business newsletter

The move is a blow to Leeds’ reputation as a centre for financial services.

Birmingham City Council leader Sir Albert Bore said: “HSBC joins a number of global companies that want to be a part of Birmingham’s accelerating growth and strong economic prospects.”

The bank’s UK chief executive Antonio Simoes said: “We want to be the bank of choice in the UK. Creating our ring-fenced bank head office in Birmingham gets us a step closer to that ambition for our 16 million personal and business customers.”

He said HSBC already had a “strong track record” establishing banks outside London with its First Direct business based in Leeds and M&S-branded banking services based in Chester.

The bank already employs more than 2,500 staff in Birmingham. It pointed to HSBC’s roots in the city with the opening of the Birmingham and Midland Bank in 1836.

HSBC said it had looked at other areas for its new head office but decided Birmingham gave it wide UK coverage of customers, branch network and staff.