HSBC chairman warns poorer customers could lose out

LONDON Mon Apr 22, 2013 12:31pm EDT

HSBC Group Chairman Douglas Flint attends a news conference after an informal meeting of local shareholders in Hong Kong May 21, 2012. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

HSBC Group Chairman Douglas Flint attends a news conference after an informal meeting of local shareholders in Hong Kong May 21, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Bobby Yip

LONDON (Reuters) - HSBC's (HSBA.L) Chairman Douglas Flint has warned less well-off customers could lose access to basic financial services if lenders are overburdened by unnecessary regulation.

"I do worry that we are beginning to see the industry move towards serving higher net worth individuals and moving away from the bottom of society," Flint told the City Week banking conference.

UK Banks have argued that new rules introduced by Britain's financial regulator in January have made it too expensive to offer advice to many customers.

The rules are meant to ensure advisors are better trained and that fees for financial advice are more transparent.

However, several banks including HSBC have responded by withdrawing advice to customers with less than 50,000 pounds to invest. Flint said overzealous regulation could reverse the expansion of financial inclusion seen in recent years.

"It becomes more and more difficult to sell simple products to the lower income part of society and I think it would be retrograde if we end up effectively making the system safer by excluding the people that we brought into the system," he said.

(Reporting by Matt Scuffham and Alice Baghdjian; Editing by David Cowel)

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Comments (2)
Harry079 wrote:
“I do worry that we are beginning to see the industry move towards serving higher net worth individuals and moving away from the bottom of society,” Flint told the City Week banking conference.”

I don’t know but I always thought that laundering drug and other illicit funds, which HSBC does on a regular basis IS dealing with the bottom of society.

Apr 22, 2013 2:36pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
cammanchee wrote:
Nice to know a bank doesn’t want more regulations, especially coming from a bank that most recently paid a massive fine for laundering billions and billions of dollars for cartels and dealings with unfriendly nations like Iran. This bank is also under investigation as being apart of the massive Libor rate rigging scandal as well. This guy should be lucky his bank is deemed to big and important to supposedly jail or prosecute anyone because of the feared “harm” it would do to the world financial system.

Nice to know these banks can literally break every rule in the book, and all they have to do is basically pay for there way out of everything, while continuing to try and say there needs to be no regulations on anything. It pretty much seems they don’t follow the regulations in place now and don’t suffer any real consequences anyway. Just pay a few hundred million here, a billion there, to continue doing whatever you want since the Justice Department or other governments word-for-word deemed these banks to big to prosecute. What incentive do they really have in running things like they already do and deem it “business as usual”.

The very well off already get every advantage, loop hole, and secret place to park there money as it is, let’s just go ahead and deny basic banking services from everyone else but them. And to just think we had to bail out most of these banks out and prevent them from total ruin and help preserve the big accounts of the very wealthy. I like many others have always said, and I sure with all the scandals that continue to come from these banks, wish that none of them would have received bailouts and if they didn’t run their businesses well enough or put them in those positions, then too bad you failed. The reason why rules or regulations are put into place is because someone has hurt either themselves or others to a point where they don’t want to see a repeat of those instances again. So this guy needs to keep quiet, be thankful he and his upper-management buddies are not spending serious time in jail or that their bank didn’t go under, and try to run a banking institution legally and fairly.

Apr 22, 2013 2:46pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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