As many of you have surely heard, HSBC is in a bit of trouble at the moment re: a service it has offered clients for some time that involves showing said clients how to not pay taxes. Apparently this has caused a lot of other banks to do some soul-searching on the matter, asking not so much "Have we ever helped customers dodge taxes," as the answer is most certainly yes, everybody used to do it, but "Are we still and to what extent? Pay a little fine and move on or we are really quite fucked here"?
The reaction of rival private banking executives to the tax evasion scandal unfolding at HSBC has been swift. Many have called internal meetings and brought in outside advisers in the past 10 days to check there are no “problem dossiers” lurking in their own client portfolios, said several industry executives. The raid on HSBC’s Swiss headquarters on the shore of lake Geneva by the local public prosecutor on Wednesday morning will have only intensified the industry’s clean-up operations. The issue many in the industry face is that the controversial practices HSBC has been accused of — and for which it has apologised — were rife until a few years ago, say the executives. However much they sanitise their existing operations there is still a risk of the past catching up with them, they add.