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May 18: Today’s big story in the City remains our scoop from this morning that John Studzinski , HSBC’s co-head of corporate, investment banking and markets, is leaving to join Blackstone. In his three years at HSBC, the former Morgan Stanley banker did much to build up HSBC’s investment bank but there is still a lot for his co-head, Stuart Gulliver, to do. Studs’s departure makes that task more difficult because – rightly or not – it will sow doubt among staff and clients about HSBC’s commitment to investment banking. Sir John Bond, the bank’s chairman, was much more of a champion of investment banking than is commonly assumed, but he too is off. His successor as chairman, Stephen Green, understands the business well but seems to have little love for it, and Michael Geoghegan, who will take over as chief executive, is very retail. As for Gulliver, who will now take sole charge of the division, he is highly impressive but his background is firmly in the fixed income markets. We hope to speak to Studs, Green or Gulliver this afternoon.
Otherwise, we have disappointing full-year figures from Boots and mixed figures from SABMiller. There were also strong full-year numbers from BT, where broadband sales are making up for the low growth in retail. National Grid, which produced decent annual results, is doubling the amount it is investing in infrastructure to prepare for more gas imports. Read Lex here.
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