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HSBC suspends senior executive after climate-change comments: report

May 22, 2022, 8:37 PM UTC

HSBC has suspended a senior executive pending internal investigation after he made comments about climate change at a London conference Thursday that drew criticism from climate activists.

The executive—Stuart Kirk, global head of responsible of investments in the company’s asset management division—said that bankers and policymakers are exaggerating the financial risks of climate change in a bid to “out-hyperbole the next guy,” Financial Times reported Sunday.

“Unsubstantiated, shrill, partisan, self-serving, apocalyptic warnings are ALWAYS wrong,” Kirk wrote on a slide used in his presentation, titled, “Why investors need not worry about climate risk,” at FT’s Moral Money Summit, Reuters reported Friday.

The remarks don’t represent the company’s views, Nicolas Moreau, chief executive of HSBC Asset Management, told Reuters vis a spokesperson.

But the “theme and content” of the speech had been internally approved by months prior to the conference, Financial Times reported, citing “people with knowledge of the event’s planning.” And the presentation had been publicized ahead of the conference.

What’s more, HSBC sponsored the conference and was a strategic partner, the news outlet added.

HSBC declined to comment on the matter Sunday.

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