Financial business

“Without freedom, there is no financial enterprise”

Japanese financial conglomerate SBI Holdings is considering leaving Hong Kong due to uncertainty over Beijing’s implementation of the National Security Law.

Director General of SBI Kitao Yoshitaka noted the company is considering withdrawing from the city over concerns about the national security law and its impact on the business environment.

“[W]Without freedom, there is no financial business, ”Kitao said in a“ Financial Times ”report, highlighting similar fears among Japanese peers.

SBI, owner of Japan’s largest online brokerage firm, is considering Singapore or Shanghai as an alternative for its 100-person unit.

Japanese critic

According to Kitao, Hong Kong was “not a good place for financial institutions” with other Japanese companies “very frightened” by developments in the city and increasingly reconsidering the scale of their operations there.

“If I want to do business in China, I would rather have an office in Beijing or Shanghai or elsewhere,” Kitao said.

The SBI first considered an exit from Hong Kong in favor of accelerated mainland expansion in September last year, highlighting concerns about “one after another”.

Hub mixes

SBI is also reviewing its London office due to post-Brexit conditions, adding that the city is starting to experience capital outflows even if all is well. Potential alternatives cited include Amsterdam, Luxembourg and Frankfurt.

He also suggested the potential for Osaka to rise to prominence as a possible global financial hub, suggesting a rapprochement between London and the Osaka Stock Exchange to take advantage of extensive trading from both time zones.