Interview with Douglas Flint

Chairman HSBC Holdings Plc.

I think the growth of urbanisation in China is going to underpin the economy; the movement up the value chain is going to support its economic power. And the Chinese ‘going out’ policy means its businesses are beginning to invest in and transfer operations to other parts of the world to access markets.

The financial crisis exposed a number of risks that hadn't been properly calibrated, that hadn't been properly understood, not just in credit and operational risk or market risk, but also in many of the conduct risk areas that have arisen as the financial crisis has played through...

We're in the risk business, we're helping our clients manage risk – pooling risk, offsetting risk – and we'll continue to do that.

We know that there's a huge burden of technology change to pursue once [the rules] are finalised. And that means you hold back capacity that might otherwise be applied to product innovation or expansion, because you have to – the first priority is to make sure you comply with all the regulations that are required.

I think data privacy is going to be a huge issue and I think that's something our industry's grown up with. The sanctity of client privacy within a financial services organisation is something you don't need to teach people. It's terribly important.

The burden of an ageing population and the affordability of an ageing population and inter-generational equality and so on, how that plays through asset prices I think is something to reflect carefully on.

I think the world has benefited hugely from globalisation in its broadest sense in terms of deepening, broadening supply chains, enabling even the smallest business to trade in multiple countries. I hope that regulation doesn’t unwind that in the way that it could do if you get Balkanisation of the financial system. And I think we need to guard against that.

As part of PwC's 17th Annual Global CEO Survey, we spoke with Douglas Flint, Chairman of HSBC Holdings Plc. In this short video, Douglas talks about demographic challenges, the impact of technology on the financial services industry, HSBC's focus on diversity and improving the talent pool, and rebuilding trust with stakeholders.

Douglas Flint is Group Chairman of HSBC Holdings Plc.

He began his career with Peat Marwick Mitchell & Co. (now KPMG) where he trained as a chartered accountant. He was appointed a partner of the firm in 1988.
Mr Flint specialised in banking, multinational financial reporting, treasury and securities trading operations, group re-organisations and litigation support while at KPMG. He joined HSBC on 30 September 1995 and was appointed to the Board as Group Finance Director on 1 December 1995. In February 2010, Mr Flint’s responsibilities were broadened to that of Chief Financial Officer, Executive Director Risk and Regulation. He was appointed Group Chairman of HSBC Holdings Plc. on 3 December 2010.

Mr Flint was appointed Chairman of the Institute of International Finance in June 2012. He is a member of the Mayor of Beijing’s International Business Leaders’ Advisory Council as well as the Mayor of Shanghai’s International Business Leaders’ Advisory Council, and a member of the International Advisory Board of the China Europe International Business School, Shanghai. He is also an independent external member of the Financial Services Trade and Investment Board in the UK.
Mr Flint was born in Scotland in July 1955 and was educated at Glasgow University where he gained a B.Acc (Hons) degree. He also completed the PMD course at Harvard Business School in 1983. He is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland and the Association of Corporate Treasurers. He is a Fellow of The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

In June 2006 he was honoured with a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) by Her Majesty the Queen in recognition of his services to the finance industry. Mr Flint was Chairman of the Financial Reporting Council’s review of the Turnbull Guidance on Internal Control from 2004-2005 and served on the Accounting Standards Board and the Advisory Council of the International Accounting Standards Board from 2001-2004. He also served on the Shipley Working Group on Public Disclosure and co-chaired the Group of Thirty report on Enhancing Public Confidence in Financial Reporting, and the 2008 Report of the CRMPG III, “Containing Systemic Risk: The Road to Reform”. Mr Flint served as a non-executive director of BP Plc. from 1 January 2005 until 14 April 2011 and was Chairman of its Audit Committee in his final year.

Mr Flint is married with three children. His hobbies include golf.

These interviews contain the opinions and views of the CEOs interviewed, and do not necessarily represent the opinions and views of PwC.