Page last updated at 05:12 GMT, Wednesday, 7 October 2009 06:12 UK

HSBC boss says banks owe apology


HSBC boss: 'The industry collectively owes the real world an apology'

The entire banking industry "owes the real world an apology", the chairman of HSBC has said.

Stephen Green told BBC World Business Report that a change in culture was needed to improve the public's perception of bankers.

He also said that London was secure as a major financial centre, but would lose market share as Asia developed.

Last month, HSBC announced that its chief executive Michael Geoghan would move to Hong Kong from London.

But Mr Green said the bank's decision did not mean it was turning its back on London.

"Two-thirds of our business is in Asia. It's where we think the centre of gravity of the world's economy is shifting," he said.

'Learn the lessons'

Mr Green, in Istanbul for the annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, admitted the banking industry collectively owed the world an apology for the financial crisis.

"It also owes the real world a commitment to learn the lessons. Some of them are about governance and ethics and culture within the industry," he said.

"You can't do all this simply by rules and regulations."

However, commenting on increased regulations for banks, Mr Green said it was "inevitable" that regulators as well as the banks themselves could learn from the crisis.

He added that the industry needed to "pay much more attention to liquidity" than it had done previously.

On Monday, the Financial Services Authority in the UK published new rules governing funding standards at banks and building societies, stating that banks should hold more assets that were truly liquid, such as government bonds.

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