Bank of America considers moving staff from Hong Kong to Singapore: FT

·2-min read
Bank of America is considering at moving staff from Hong Kong to Singapore due to strict quarantine rules. (PHOTO: REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)
Bank of America Corp. is looking at moving staff from Hong Kong to Singapore, FT said. (PHOTO: REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)

By Denise Wee

(Bloomberg) — Bank of America Corp. is looking at moving staff from Hong Kong to Singapore as the Chinese territory’s strict zero Covid approach is forcing businesses to review their operations, the Financial Times reported.

The US bank is looking at roles in a number of business lines and operations, the newspaper said, citing a person close to the bank. It’s doing contingency planning and it’s unclear how many people could be moved, according to the report.

A Bank of America spokesman declined to comment.

Hong Kong’s zero Covid strategy is making it hard for bankers to travel in and out of the financial hub. Officials this month clamped down further as omicron emerged, forcing close contacts into government camps, closing schools and banning flights, on top of the 21 days of mandated quarantine for incoming travelers.

Business groups have been sounding a warning that the city’s status as a financial center is increasingly at risk. Global banks face a talent crunch in Hong Kong as they struggle to retain staff and recruit candidates from overseas.

Hong Kong’s zero-tolerance approach to Covid-19 could keep the Asian financial hub cut off from most of the world until 2024 and fuel a large-scale exodus of international workers and executives, according to a draft report by the European Chamber of Commerce in the city this week.

The American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong said earlier this month that international travel restrictions are now the top concern for companies in a survey. The quarantine rules for travelers make it difficult for head offices to operate, with about 44% of respondents saying they are likely to leave.

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.