Now the Chief Executive, Stuart Gulliver, has hinted that actually the decision won’t be settled for another year.
Of course he has. HSBC is unlikely to leave British shores.
When you have a whole bunch of often evenly-matched disadvantages and advantages attached to most potential alternatives (as I said in “Money Matters” for Thomson Reuters) - you end up “sticking with the devil you know”.
And that’s certainly the case here.
Going back to one of its roots in Hong Kong seemed terribly attractive at one point, cozying up to China and the nearby emerging markets. But that very proximity can seem problematic, politically and economically, despite UK-familiar laws and regulation locally.
In actual fact, many Asian capitals can seem as remote in terms of distance and certainly culture from its neighbours as is London. Otherwise Singapore would be a stronger contender.
Other candidate cities seem more imaginative options than realistic ones.
The game that is settling in here, given the new timescale, is that HSBC wants to wring more concessions in terms of regulation and taxation from the British government, and is also waiting to see what concessions the Prime Minister can get in those areas, from David Cameron’s EU peers.
In 15-20 years time, the alternatives to London may seem more obviously attractive.
But I suspect that HSBC isn’t moving any time before that.