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HSBC's Asia-Pacific hiring being investigated by SEC, bank says
[HONG KONG] HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe's biggest bank, said it's among financial institutions being investigated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission in relation to their hiring practices in the Asia Pacific.
The probe is linked to the hiring of candidates referred by, or related to, government officials or employees of state- owned companies in the region, HSBC said in a Hong Kong exchange statement on Monday that accompanied its latest earnings report. The London-based lender had received "various requests for information" and is cooperating with the SEC, it said.
"Based on the facts currently known, it is not practicable at this time for HSBC to predict the resolution of this matter, including the timing or any possible impact on HSBC, which could be significant," the bank said.
Global banks' hiring practices have come under scrutiny after the US opened an investigation in 2013 into whether JPMorgan Chase & Co violated anti-bribery laws by employing children of China's elite. Banks are being probed for hiring candidates related to powerful Asian business leaders in order to generate business.
HSBC's statement on the SEC investigation came as the bank reported a fourth-quarter loss amid lower income from lending and higher loan-impairment charges.