HSBC banker’s remarks on climate risk inconsistent with strategy, CEO says

(Reuters) – HSBC Holdings CEO Noel Quinn said his bank would not be distracted from its ambition to lead the global economy in the transition to net zero, after a senior executive said banks power plants had exaggerated the financial risks of climate change.

In a post on LinkedIn on Saturday, Quinn said the principal banker’s remarks were “inconsistent with HSBC’s strategy” and “do not reflect the views of HSBC senior management or HSBC Asset Management.”

At a conference hosted by the Financial Times on Thursday, HSBC’s head of responsible investment, Stuart Kirk, said policymakers at central banks and other global authorities were exaggerating the financial risks of climate change, in comments which have drawn criticism from climate activists.

Quinn reiterated HSBC’s commitment to a net zero future and his post was endorsed by several other HSBC staff, including Nuno Matos, CEO of Wealth and Personal Banking, who said the transition to the net zero was of “utmost importance” to the bank.

Kirk could not immediately be reached for comment.

(Reporting by Nishit Jogi in Bengaluru and Sinead Cruise in London; Editing by Pravin Char)