BANKING: Same Place, New Address

Same Place, New Address

It is more than just a bank. For 125 years, the Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corp. has been virtually synonymous with the crown colony. Its 42-story headquarters looms over the central financial district, housing what is often referred to as Hong Kong's "real" government. The bank prints 83% of the colony's currency and performs many of the functions of central banks elsewhere. Thus last week's announcement came as a terrible shock: the banking company was moving its legal domicile to London.

Chairman William Purves explained that the bank was hoping to reassure shareholders and financial markets, which are increasingly apprehensive over...

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