HSBC Holdings has suspended its head of responsible investing pending an internal investigation after he said central bank policymakers and other global authorities are exaggerating the financial risks of climate change, the Financial Times reported on Sunday citing people with knowledge of the process.
HSBC senior banker Stuart Kirk made the comments at a conference hosted by the FT on Thursday, drawing criticism from climate activists.
According to the FT, the title of the presentation – “Why investors need not worry about climate risk” – had been set two months earlier and had been posted ahead of the event on the conference’s website.
HSBC CEO Noel Quinn said in a LinkedIn post on Saturday that his bank will not be distracted from its ambition to lead the global economy in the transition to net zero.
An HSBC spokesperson said the company could not comment on individual employees.