HSBC Holdings plc is one of the largest banking groups in the world, ranked the fifth-largest company and third-largest banking company in the world in Forbes Global 2000. Its head office is located in the HSBC Tower in London’s Canary Wharf. The group is named after its founding member, the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, a bank established by Thomas Sutherland, a Scot, to finance British trade in the Far East in 1865.
The bank is the largest corporation in the world in terms of assets (As of Jun 30, $1.74 trillion while Citigroup reported $1.63 trillion). It reports its results in United States dollars since 80% of its earnings originate from outside the United Kingdom. Nearly 22% of its earnings are from operations in Hong Kong, where it was headquartered until 1991. It is the largest bank in Hong Kong, and at the end of 2004 it was the third largest banking group in the world by Tier 1 capital.
The HSBC logo, known as the Hexagon, is derived from the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporations 19th century house flag, itself derived from the Scottish flag which is the angular cross that Saint Andrew (the patron saint of Scotland) was crucified upon.
As of 2005 Michael Geoghegan, the company’s CEO, was earning over £700,000.00 (over 1 million US dollars) per year, and the chairman Sir John Bond, who retired in 2006, was earning 1.8 million US dollars. HSBC made record profits in the 2004-2005 year earning over 12 billion GBP or more than 20 billion US dollars.