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Top HSBC investor backs free speech after climate ‘nut job’ banker suspended

Mr Kirk, senior investment manager in HSBC’s asset management division, was speaking at a Financial Times conference on climate change. The speech was titled “Why investors needn’t worry about climate risk.”

He said in the presentation that “there’s always some weirdo telling me about the end of the world,” arguing that catastrophic climate predictions are resource-consuming and unlikely to come true.

One slide from the presentation read, “Unfounded, strident, partisan, self-serving, apocalyptic warnings are ALWAYS wrong.”

Mr Kirk said: “The Mark Carneys of this world need to convince us all that each and every one of us is wrong about climate risk. It’s possible, but it’s a big challenge.”

HSBC CEO Noel Quinn later criticized the presentation, which was said to have been approved by senior managers at HSBC.

In a post on LinkedIn, Mr Quinn said: “I disagree – at all – with the comments [this] Week FT Morale Money Summit.

“They are not consistent with HSBC’s strategy and do not reflect the views of senior management at HSBC or HSBC Asset Management.

“We are very busy and I am determined that our team will not be distracted by last week’s comments.”

Bill Winters, chief executive of fellow FTSE 100 bank Standard Chartered, took a different view last week, warning that it’s “becoming increasingly difficult to speak out against anything” and that employees “should have their say.”

He said: “Do I agree with the views? no Am I promoting freedom of speech? Yes.”

L&G has said it will remove companies from actively managed funds if they fail to meet its demands on coal investments, reporting on carbon emissions or their impact on deforestation. The company last year beat American insurance giant AIG for “insufficient action to address the risks of climate change.”

HSBC declined to comment.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/05/29/top-hsbc-investor-backs-free-speech-climate-nut-job-banker-suspended/ Top HSBC investor backs free speech after climate ‘nut job’ banker suspended

Russell Falcon

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