HSBC has suspended a senior executive from pending an internal investigation into a presentation he gave at an event last week, according to people familiar with the process.
Stuart Kirk, Global Head of Responsible Investment in the Bank’s Asset Management Division, Central bankers accused and policy makers who overestimate the financial risks of climate change in an effort to “beat the next man over.”
Over the weekend, CEO Noel Quinn and Nuno Matos, head of wealth and personal banking at HSBC, sought to stay away from comments in social media posts.
While the bank and its top executives criticized the speech at the Financial Times conference, its topic and content were agreed internally before Kirk spoke Thursday, according to people familiar with planning the event.
Presentation Title – ‘Why investors don’t need to worry about climate risks’ – It was agreed upon two months ago and published on the site in the run-up to the event.
“I do not agree – at all – with the remarks made in [this] “The FT Moral Money Summit,” Quinn said on LinkedIn this weekend. “It goes against HSBC’s strategy and does not reflect the views of HSBC’s senior leadership or HSBC Asset Management.”
“We have a lot of work to do, and I’m determined our team won’t be distracted by last week’s comments,” he added.
Matos, whose division includes the asset management business, said: “In full agreement with Noel Quinn – the move to net zero is above and beyond [sic] is important to us and we will strive to find ways to help our customers on this journey. “
HSBC has come under pressure in recent years from activists and shareholders for its role in financing companies with large greenhouse gas emissions.
Kirk’s comments on climate change – which angered environmentalists – were particularly embarrassing for the bank because it sponsored the conference and was promoted on the event website as a strategic partner.
HSBC declined to comment, while Kirk had not responded by press time.
During the speech, Kirk said that throughout his 25-year career in the financial industry “there have always been some jobs that tell me about the end of the world,” likening the climate crisis to the 2000 glitch that predicted widespread computer malfunctions at the turn of the millennium.
“Unfounded, loud, partisan, self-serving, and appalling warnings are always false,” he wrote on a slide accompanying his presentation.
Last month , FT . revealed That the Advertising Standards Authority, the UK watchdog, had drafted a recommendation that considered HSBC mislead customers in two ads by selectively promoting its green initiatives, while omitting information about its continued funding of companies with large greenhouse gas emissions.
A year ago, it was The bank has been pressed on its climate commitments by a group of investors, but it revolutionized shareholders at its annual meeting by promoting its plans in line with international agreements to limit global warming.
However, the speed with which HSBC and other lenders have pledged to act, particularly in terms of coal and mining energy financing, disappointed some activists and ESG funds. They keep pushing for change.
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