HSBC suspends chief executive Stuart Kirk over comments on climate change

British giant HSBC has suspended a senior executive who argued during a recent public presentation that the financial risks of climate change were exaggerated and exaggerated by central bank officials and other policymakers.

The suspended employee, Stuart Kirk, is the global head of responsible investment in HSBC’s Asset Management division. made these statements during the show Entitled, “Why Investors Don’t Need to Worry About Climate Risks.”

Kirk stated his view that warnings about climate change “have become so farcical that no one really knows how to get anyone’s attention at all.”

“I usually don’t mind it. Twenty-five years in the finance industry, there are always some nuts that tell me about the end of the world,” Kirk said. “I’ve dealt with gold bugs my entire financial career, and the roof is going to collapse, Y2K. Does anyone remember Y2K, anyone old enough? Elevators haven’t stopped.”

Kirk was suspended after an internal investigation was conducted into his presentation financial times I mentioned quoting people with knowledge of the topic. He gave his speech at the FT Moral Money Summit.

But sources familiar with the show’s planning told the outlet that its “theme and content” had been “agreed internally” before the event took place.

HSBC said it could not comment on individual employee situations.

Kirk’s comments drew sharp reprimands from two of his bank colleagues, including HSBC chief executive Noel Quinn, who said they were a distraction.

“I don’t agree – not at all – with the remarks made at the FT Moral Money Summit last week,” Quinn He said in a post on LinkedIn on the situation. “It does not align with HSBC’s strategy and does not reflect the views of HSBC’s senior leadership or HSBC Asset Management.”

“We aspire to be the leading bank supporting the global economy in the transition to net zero,” Quinn added.

HSBC logo
HSBC Chief Responsible Investment commented.
Reuters

Nuno Matos, senior head of wealth and personal banking at HSBC, also criticized Kirk’s comments.

“In full agreement with Noel Quinn – the transition to net zero is higher [sic] “It is important to us and we will strive to find ways to help our customers on this journey,” Matos said.

While he criticized senior HSBC officials, his comments sparked controversy among other financial leaders.

Standard Chartered CEO Bill Winters declined to comment on the comment, but informed London financial news That workers are free to express their opinions.

“Do I agree with opinions? No. Do I encourage freedom of expression? Yes,” Winters told the outlet while attending the World Economic Forum in Davos.

“People should be able to express their opinions, whether or not you agree with the conclusions,” Winters added.

A former BlackRock executive who focuses on sustainable investing said Kirk’s comments “did us a service” in debates about the risks of climate change by “instilling a dose of honesty into a discussion that doesn’t lead us anywhere else.” financial news mentioned.

HSBC CEO Noel Quinn
HSBC chief executive Noel Quinn has criticized Stuart Kirk’s comments on climate change.
Reuters

US officials have intensified their warnings about climate change in recent years, with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen leading a panel of experts last year that warned that it represented an “emerging threat.” The country’s financial stability.

Kirk had acknowledged that his position that the climate opportunity is not an existential financial risk would be considered a “fad” among policymakers.

He began his speech with a slide declaring that “unsupportive, sharp, partisan, self-serving, appalling warnings are always false.” The slide included commentary from the Bank of England, the United Nations, the World Economic Forum and others who warned that climate change poses a significant risk to global economies.

“I am fully aware that there is competition for funding,” Kirk said. “I totally get that, at the end of your central bank career, there are still many, many years left to fill. You have to say something, you have to travel the world to conferences, you have to beat the next guy’s exaggeration, but I feel like it’s gotten out of hand. A little bit of control.

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