Gulliver joined HSBC straight out of university in 1980, joining the bank's training programme. Originally his plan was to work there for a few years to save up some money and then train as a lawyer. After starting out in the dealing rooms of Sharjah in the Gulf and Hong Kong, Gulliver found the work suited him and he enjoyed the 'buzz' of it all. After standing out as a brilliant trader, he began to rise through the markets side of the bank.
Gulliver's stock rose even further in 1997 and 1998 during the Asian financial crisis. Whilst some banks, hedge fund managers and other investors decided that the currencies of many Asian countries were overvalued and formed a group betting that the currencies would lose value, Gulliver - in charge of HSBC's Asian markets business, declined to join the group and instead worked with the central banks to build stability. In doing this he declined making the bank a short-term profit in order to not further deteriorate the economic position of the countries.
Gulliver has held roles at the bank as chairman of Europe, Middle East and Global Business of HSBC Holdings plc, chairman of HSBC France, deputy chairman of Trinkaus & Burkhardt AG and on the boards of HSBC Bank plc, HSBC Bank Middle East Limited, HSBC USA Inc and HSBC Bank USA, N.A.
He has currently been a group general manager since 2000, on the group management board since 2004, an executive director of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited since 2006 and an executive director of HSBC Holdings plc since 2008. He was appointed Group Chief Executive of HSBC Holdings plc in January 2011, replacing Stephen Green who was being appointed Minister of State for Trade and Investment by David Cameron.
In February 2015 HSBC were embroiled in a tax avoidance scandal, where it was revealed the Swiss subsidiary of the bank were helping clients, including some of the richest men and women in Britain, to avoid tax laws. In the immediate aftermath of the revelations, Gulliver apologised on behalf of the bank and said the Swiss bank had had a 'complete overhaul'.
However, it has since been claimed that Gulliver has used his non-domiciled status (resides in Hong Kong) to hold £5million of his personal fortune in a Swiss account with the bank. He was named as the beneficial owner of an account in the name of Worcester Equities Inc, an anonymous company registered in Panama, that until 2003 Gulliver's HSBC bonuses were paid in to. Until 2007 he also held a second account in the name of Worcester Foundation.
According to the Guardian, lawyers for Gulliver have said that Hong Kong tax has been paid on the income and explained that he 'followed this procedure because he wanted his taxed bonus earnings to remain private from his then colleagues in Hong Kong, which they would not have done if he had kept them in an HSBC Hong Kong account'.
The paper also asked why he used a Panamanian company to hold the funds, however his lawyers declined to answer. They added that his Swiss accounts have 'for a number of years' been voluntarily declared to UK tac authorities.
- Henny Sender Breakfast with the FT: Stuart Gulliver Financial Times, 25 February 2011, accessed 23 February 2015
- HSBC Stuart Gulliver, accessed 23 February 2015
- HSBC boss Stuart Gulliver apologises as tax avoidance row grows Guardian, 15 February 2015, accessed 23 February 2015
- James Ball, Juliette Garside, David Pegg and Harry Davies Revealed: Swiss account secret of HSBC chief Stuart Gulliver Guardian, 23 February 2015, accessed 23 February 2015