HSBC originally stood for Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. It now falls under the parent company HSBC Holdings plc and it is a public limited company that was established in England and Wales in 1990, with headquarters in London since 1993. It is both the world’s largest banking group and the world’s 6th largest company, as of 2009, according to a composite measure carried out by Forbes magazine. Hong Kong was the bank’s headquarters up until 1992 when it was compelled to move to London as a part of the condition and terms of completing the acquisition of Midland Bank. Presently, although no single geographical area dominates the group’s earnings, Hong Kong is still considered an essential source of HSBC’s income. Recent acquisitions and expansion that are taking place in China are returning HSBC to a part of its roots. HSBC has a very large operational base in Asia and considerable lending, investment, and insurance activities around the world. The company has a global scope and financial fundamentals equalled by few other banking or financial multinationals. HSBC is currently listed on the London, New York, Hong Kong, Paris and Bermuda Stock Exchanges, and is a component of the FTSE 100 Index and the Hang Seng Index.
The bank was founded in 1865. HSBC Holdings was then established in 1990 and became the parent company to The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation as preparation measure for its purchase of Midland Bank and a change of its home base for the transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong. Shares in HSBC Holdings, which gave HSBC a substantial presence in the UK, was finally completed in 1992. As a part of the takeover agreement and conditions for the purchase of Midland, HSBC was compelled to move its world headquarters from Hong Kong to London in the year 1993 as previously mentioned. Major acquisitions in South America initiated with the purchase of Banco Bamerindus of Brazil for one billion dollars in March 1997 and the acquisition of Roberts SA de Inversiones of Argentina for 600 million dollars in May 1997.
In May of 1999 HSBC ventured on a major acquisition in the United States with the purchase of Republic National Bank of New York for 10.3 billiion dollars. Expansion into Continental Europe occurred in April 2000 with the acquisition of Crédit Commercial de France, a large French bank for 6.6 billion pounds sterling. In July 2001 HSBC purchased Demirbank, a bankrupt Turkish bank. After this in August 2002 HSBC acquired Grupo Financiero Bital, SA de CV, Mexico’s third largest retail bank for 1.1 billion dollars. The new headquarters of HSBC Holdings at 8 Canada Square, London was officially opened in April of 2003. In September 2003 HSBC bought Polski Kredyt Bank SA of Poland for 7.8 million dollars.
A terrorist attack that took place in November 2003 which led to a bomb blast in Istanbul damaged the bank’s head office in Turkey, and caused several deaths and hundreds of injuries. In June 2004 HSBC expanded business into China purchasing 19.9% of the Bank of Communications of Shanghai. In the United Kingdom HSBC acquired Marks & Spencer Retail Financial Services Holdings Ltd for 763 million pounds sterling in December 2004. Acquisitions that occurred in 2005 included Metris Inc, a US credit card issuer for 1.6 billion dollars in August and 70.1% of Dar Es Salaam Investment Bank of Iraq in October. In April 2006 HSBC purchased the 90 branches in Argentina of Banca Nazionale del Lavoro for 155 million dollars. Then in December 2007 HSBC acquired The Chinese Bank in Taiwan. By May 2008 HSBC acquired IL&FS Investment, an Indian retail broking firm. And finally as of February 2010, the HSBC Group CEO Office will be permanently placed in Hong Kong, its place of origin.