Fitch Ratings has put its long-term ratings for HSBC Bank Canada on “rating watch negative,” citing concerns about a disorderly, uncertain Brexit.
The rating agency said Wednesday that it placed HSBC Bank Canada’s “AA-” long-term issuer-default rating on rating watch, following similar actions on its ratings for the bank’s parent company, HSBC Holdings plc, due to “heightened uncertainty” over the outcome of the Brexit process.
If the U.K. ends up leaving the European Union without a negotiated deal in place, Fitch is concerned that risks to the banks’ ability to execute their strategies would rise due to “a more difficult operating environment” that would likely add pressure to earnings, asset quality and their funding positions.
“In the event of a no-deal Brexit… Fitch sees heightened probability that it would revise the outlook on HSBC’s long-term [ratings] to negative,” it says.
Fitch expects to resolve the rating watch by the end of March when the Brexit outcome becomes clearer. If a withdrawal agreement is in place that avoids a disruptive Brexit, it expects to affirm the banks’ ratings and see the outlook revert to stable.