LONDON: HSBC has reportedly suspended a senior executive who accused central bankers and other officials of exaggerating the financial risks of climate change.
Last week, Stuart Kirk, a leader in the bank’s responsible investing team, said: “There’s always some nut job telling me about the end of the world,” it was reported.
At the weekend, HSBC’s boss Noel Quinn posted on social media that he did not agree “at all” with the comments. The firm declined to comment on reports that Kirk has been suspended.
Kirk, who is global head of responsible investing at the bank’s asset management division, was suspended pending an investigation into a speech he made at an event last week, as per a report.
His role, which is based in London, involves considering the impact of investments on environmental, social and governance issues, said the report.
HSBC came under pressure to sack Kirk after he gave the presentation entitled “Why investors need not worry about climate risk” at a conference on May 19.
In the address, he made light of the risks of major floods and said he had to spend his time “looking at something that’s going to happen in 20 or 30 years”.
During the 15-minute address at a summit, Kirk said: “Climate change is not a financial risk that we need to worry about.”
“Unsubstantiated, shrill, partisan, self-serving, apocalyptic warnings are ALWAYS wrong,” a slide shown as part of the presentation said.
Climate change is not a financial risk that we need to worry about — Stuart Kirk,
Head of Responsible Investment, HSBC AM