[LONDON] HSBC Holdings said its review of whether to leave Britain was an objective review of economics, rather than a threat, following "significant pressure" from investors to consider the best place for its headquarters.
"This isn't meant to be a threat. This is just very objectively looking at a few facts," HSBC Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver told reporters.
He said a rise in Britain's bank levy was "going to make it impossible for us to stick to our commitment to make the dividend progressive" and investors were concerned about that.
HSBC said two weeks ago it was considering moving its headquarters out of Britain after shareholders said it should assess its best domicile following a sharp rise in Britain's annual bank levy, which will cost HSBC about US$1.5 billion this year.