HSBC Banker Suspended For Climate Rant Draws Ire From Academics!

HSBC is said to have suspended a senior official who accused central bankers and other authorities of exaggerating the financial risks of climate change. 

HSBC Banker Suspended For Climate Rant Draws Criticism From Academics!!

Noel Quinn, the CEO of HSBC, stated on social media over the weekend that he did not agree “at all” with the comments. 

HSBC Banker Suspended For Climate Rant Draw Ire From Academics

“I completely disagree with the remarks made at last week’s FT Moral Money Summit. 

They are incompatible with HSBC‘s strategy and do not reflect the views of HSBC’s senior management or HSBC Asset Management “Quinn penned a letter. 

Quinn went on to say that the bank has a lot of work to do to address the climate crisis, and he’s “determined that our team won’t be distracted by last week’s comments.” 

Nuno Matos, HSBC’s chief executive of wealth and private banking, stated that He agreed with Mr. Quinn that “the transition to net-zero is of the utmost importance to us.” 

Stuart Kirk’s presentation earlier this month offered “spurious correlations,” as well as “weak methods” and an “even weaker” understanding of monetary theory, according to Noel Amenc, a Ph.D. and professor at EDHEC graduate school, and Frederik Blanc-Brude, a Ph.D. and director at EDHEC Infrastructure Institute.

HSBC was under pressure to fire Kirk after he delivered a presentation titled “Why investors shouldn’t be concerned about climate risk” at a conference on May 19. 

In his speech, he downplayed the risks of major floods, saying that he needed to spend his time “looking at something that’s going to happen in 20 or 30 years.”

“Unsubstantiated, shrill, partisan, self-serving, apocalyptic warnings are always wrong,” according to a slide shown during the presentation. 

In an open letter dated May 26 and addressed to Kirk, the two dissected a now-infamous series of remarks he made earlier this month at a Financial Times event. Their concern, they wrote, is that Kirk represents a new “interlocutor,” one who clearly believes in global climate change but “doesn’t care.” 

According to them, their goal is to confirm a “minimum amount of theoretical and empirical consistency” in the ongoing debate about sustainable investing. 

Kirk, whose presentation was later retracted by his employer, used his appearance at the FT event to lament the frequency with which “some nut job” has told him. He should be concerned about existential threats such as global climate change.

One of Kirk’s main points was that markets’ failure to price a climate disaster implied that such a scenario was unlikely.

Amenc and Blanc-Brude wrote, “This could be a false equivalence.”  

“Markets are indeed efficient, but only in converting all of today’s knowledge into prices.”

He chastised regulators and central bankers for being overly concerned about climate change and appeared to take solace in the fact that stock markets would continue to rise regardless of whether rising sea levels flooded major cities.

The comments fueled an already raging debate in the environmental, social, and governance investment world this year. Some financial professionals sought help from Some financial professionals who took to social media to applaud Kirk for saying aloud what many are thinking. 

Others were taken aback that such a prominent member of the financial establishment could dismiss the risks posed by global climate change. And HSBC clients will undoubtedly be wondering what Kirk’s remarks mean for their ESG investments.

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