HSBC Holdings PLC and Standard Chartered PLC shares plunged in Hong Kong trading following Brexit results. The drop in the British pound and other possible difficulties arising from this development could increase costs and hurt their revenue.
Earlier this year, HSBC chief executive Stuart Gulliver indicated that the bank may move 1,000 jobs to Paris in the event of a Brexit.
Meanwhile, Standard Chartered released a statement saying: "A vote to leave has no immediate direct impact on Standard Chartered." It added that there was sufficient liquidity and capital to ride out volatility. In its recent report on Brexit and its global implications, the bank announced that Asia will be "more resilient than others".
This may portend that banks such as Standard Chartered and HSBC – which have strong operations outside of the UK – may ride out the storm better than other UK-based lenders. However, analysts at Citigroup wrote that while HSBC is less exposed than domestic banks, it is "not immune".
According to DBS economist Nathan Chow: "A further decline in the British pound could cause UK lenders like HSBC and Standard Chartered to reduce leverage and restrict new loans."
Singaporean sovereign wealth fund Temasek – which is a major shareholder in Standard Chartered – will be keeping an eye on the British bank. Brexit has fuelled speculations that Temasek may decide to sell down its holdings or push DBS and Standard Chartered towards a merger – although DBS chief Piyush Gupta said in April this year that DBS had no interest in acquiring parts or all of Standard Chartered.
"StanChart is four times our size," Gupta said in April. "For a bank like us to try and tackle even pieces of StanChart would just completely consume us."