The Strategist

FT: HSBC crosses out the word "war" in its documents

03/30/2022 - 09:33

The British HSBC Plc, one of the world's largest banks, is revising its experts' research reports to remove the word "war" from the context of Russia's operation in Ukraine, reports the Financial Times (FT) citing two sources familiar with the matter.

According to the Financial Times, the bank's committees in charge of previewing all of the bank's public research materials changed the word "war" to "conflict" in the documents. Documents for internal use, according to FT sources, were not changed. According to the publication, in a video message to the bank's senior executives, Bank CEO Noel Quinn used the word "war" to characterize the events in Ukraine.

One of the newspaper's sources says that the bank considers the events in Ukraine to be particularly sensitive. The bank's business in Russia isn't crucial (the bank's Russian division's assets are estimated to be about $900 million). Despite the pressure from British lawmakers, the bank declares that it will not leave Russia.

Furthermore, as the Financial Times points out, the bank may not want to irritate the Chinese authorities, who have long refused to refer to the situation in Ukraine as a "war." Last fiscal year, China and Hong Kong accounted for 46% of the bank's overall revenue. The bank had previously been accused of backing Hong Kong's 2020 security law.