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HSBC Holdings caught in US-China crossfire

HSBC Holdings caught in US-China crossfire

As people say, the friendship between bankers is a myth. It is hardly surprising. In the banking sector, there is no place for such things as money and benefit rule everting. Largest UK bank HSBC has recently proved the veracity of this statement.

For many years, HSBC Holdings Plc. and Ping An Insurance Group Co. have enjoyed a cozy relationship, financially backing each other and staying in tune on many issues. The shock rippled through the market when the Chinese insurance giant called for the most dramatic split in banking history. It seems as if Ping An tends to bankrupt HSBC after 20 years of constant investments in the bank.  Ping An, led by Peter Ma, is urging HSBC Chairman Mark Tucker to consider options, including splitting the business and listing Asian operations separately on the stock market.

"Ping An understands the way regulatory winds are blowing,” said Isaac Stone Fish, founder of Strategy Risks, which specializes in corporate relationships with China. “Companies increasingly have to choose sides between the US and China, and we might see more corporations considering breaking up as a way to choose between the two powers," Isaac Stone Fish, the CEO and founder of Strategy Risks, a company which quantifies corporate exposure to China, noted.

"Any breakup would cost billions of dollars. It would also be a body blow to the City of London and a black eye for the global bank model," analysts at Barclays Plc said. They also pointed out that the changes could reap 3% to 8% off the group’s market value.

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