HSBC Chairman Douglas Flint said that while the bank understands the controversy surrounding bankers' bonuses, competitive bonus policies are necessary to retain top talent. "We absolutely understand the background ... At the same time, we have a duty to all of our stakeholders to ensure that we remain competitive and are able to deliver the returns that shareholders seek of us," Flint said. Standard Chartered recently withdrew from discussions among leading banks about agreeing to rein in bonuses, which continue to be a touchy subject in the wake of the financial crisis.

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