"Much may be made of a Scotchman if he be caught young." So Dr Johnson had it. In the case of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC), an institution founded by Scots and still governed by one, it has grown to be the world's most profitable financial group. The unique international officer culture that has driven it young men caught young, trained up, messed together, posted, reposted, in the bank for life and rarely back in the UK will have to change, but it's bending and adapting rather than breaking. Steven Irvine reports on its fitness for the 21st century.