"At HSBC our objective is to be the world's leading international bank. In all that we do, we also must consider the potential risks. In your opinion, what are the top three risks facing HSBC globally and why?"

This paragraph is cited from a bank's website,HSBC in question is the abbreviation of the bank.

The sentence in bold confuses me. Why did they use "facing" instead of "which HSBC is facing"? Is it grammatically correct, if it is, why? Thank you!

  • Because the risks are facing HSBC, it's not HSBC is facing the risk. The relative clause was reduced, the complete form should be, "What are the top three risks that are facing HSBC globally and why?" Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 7:17
  • Is this logical? Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 7:24
  • Nah, that's not. I was wrong. If you look for the definition of face. You'll get your answer. Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 7:34

1 Answer 1


Your bolded example sentence is a metaphor that portrays HSBC and any possible risks to it as people or personas who may face each other or not. In real life, banks and risks do not face each other like real people do.

If HSBC is facing a risk, HSBC knows about the risk (and may take action to avoid it).

If a risk faces HSBC, HSBC is threatened by the risk but HSBC may or may not be facing (aware) of that risk.

The part of the example question "risks facing HSCB" asks about any threats to HSBC, known or unknown by HSBC, and not just which risks HSBC is facing (already aware of).


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