While its global competitors didn’t shy away from calling the Russian invasion of Ukraine a war, HSBC (NYSE: HSBC) is reportedly scrubbing its analyst reports of any mention or reference that calls the Eastern European event a “war”.
Why is the nomenclature an issue worth discussing? Many critics of the war in Ukraine have been denouncing Kremlin’s propaganda angle claiming that the conflict is merely a “special military operation.”
The bank’s committee tasked to review research and client communications for external use is said to have softened the language referencing the invasion, including changing the word “war” to “conflict”. This also seems to be the direction for the bank’s statement on the matter issued two weeks ago.
In the statement, while the bank said it has no retail operations in Russia, it still maintains its business is “focused on supporting multinational corporate clients headquartered outside Russia.”
The British bank has been facing mounting pressure to pull out of Russia after other global financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Citigroup have done so amid the growing financial sanctions. Even Deutsche Bank, who initially said it is impractical to make a Moscow exit, has turned and winded down its operations in the country.
According to people familiar with the bank’s operations in the country, HSBC has roughly around 200 employees in Russia. The subsidiary in the nation reportedly had assets of 89.9 billion rubles–roughly $1.13 billion as of this writing.
The firm opened retail banking in Russia in 2009 but closed down the division after two years as it planned to focus on “servicing corporate and institutional clients.”
HSBC last traded at US$34.21 on the NYSE.
Information for this briefing was found via Financial Times and The Guardian. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.