With Asian economies riding the global recession relatively well, Asia is set to emerge as the new focal point of the global economy, according to HSBC chairman Stephen Green.
In an interview with the BBC, Green said the two-thirds of the bank's business was in Asia and that was where the centre of gravity of the world's economy was shifting. The statement assumes significance in the backdrop of the last month's announcement by HSBC that its chief executive Michael Geoghan would move to Hong Kong from London (See: HSBC relocates CEO's office to Hong Kong).
Green, however said the decision could not be construed to mean that it was turning its back on London, which he said was secure as a major financial centre but would lose market share as Asia developed.
About the recession the HSBC chief said that the entire banking industry owed the real world an apology and also a commitment to learn the lessons, some of them about governance, ethics and culture within the industry.
Green, who was in Istanbul for the annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, however did not favour tighter regulations for the banks as the banks would themselves learn from the crisis.
He said that it could not be done simply by rules and regulations alone and pointed to the need for a change in the culture to improve people's perception of bankers.