Exclusive-HSBC Surpasses Chinese Wealth Hiring Targets, Explores Return of Private Banking to India

SINGAPORE: HSBC Holdings Plc is ahead of its hiring targets for its retail wealth management business in China and plans to re-enter the private banking industry in India, senior executives said as part of its plan aiming to make Asia and wealth pillars of growth.

As part of a strategy led by Group CEO Noel Quinn, HSBC is investing $ 3.5 billion in its private and wealth banking businesses, in line with its ambition to become Asia’s leading wealth manager. by 2025.

“We are the number one international bank in China, so we want to seize this opportunity,” said Nuno Matos, CEO of Wealth and Personal Banking, one of four senior executives who moved from London to Hong Kong this year as part of the regional hub of the bank.

“On the private banking side, we are now in the clear mode of expansion,” Matos told Reuters in one of his first interviews since arriving in the region.

Asia is the largest region for HSBC, and the personal banking and wealth management unit contributed 44% or US $ 22 billion of adjusted global revenue for HSBC, headquartered in London. Last year.

The bank is looking to strengthen its mobile wealth planning service, HSBC Pinnacle, in China by having around 700 personal wealth planners by the end of the year instead of the 550 originally planned, Matos said.

HSBC’s wealth management services include investment, insurance and asset management products, while private banking serves the needs of those with investable assets of US $ 5 million or more .

The bank had 20 people operating in the onshore private banking business in China at the end of last year, said Siew Meng Tan, head of HSBC private banking for Asia-Pacific.

“By the end of this year we will reach 64 and by the end of next year we will double,” she said.

HSBC is considering whether to re-enter private onshore banking in India, where the ranks of the super rich are rising rapidly and record-breaking stock markets have created a series of billion dollar start-ups.

HSBC left the Indian private banking business in 2015 as part of a group strategy. The lucrative but highly competitive Indian market has few foreign players.

“We want to bank high net worth and high net worth clients. Right now the two main pillars that we are developing in India are insurance and asset management,” said Matos. “On the private banking side, we are not there yet and it is something that requires a strategic decision this year.”

Currently, HSBC is focused on catering to wealthy Indians from its global hubs in Singapore, London and the Middle East.


HSBC is also looking to strengthen its presence in Singapore and Southeast Asia, Matos said. In August, the bank bought the assets of French insurer AXA in Singapore for $ 575 million.

Although HSBC has a dominant presence in Asia with its retail banking, particularly in the financial hub of Hong Kong, global leaders such as UBS and Credit Suisse dominate the market for wealthier clients.

Global wealth managers remain optimistic about their growth prospects in China despite an unprecedented regulatory crackdown in the world’s second-largest economy.

In a report on global wealth released in June, the Boston Consulting Group said wealth management income pools in Asia will skyrocket faster than any other market in the world, nearly doubling over the next five years. to reach $ 52 billion.

“Asian wealth is growing twice as fast as the rest of the world. This is an exciting opportunity for us,” said Matos, who took over HSBC’s new combined division in February.

“I’m not going to redo our goals now, but what I can say is that in 2021 we will exceed our goals on the wealth side,” he said.

After announcing its intention to buy out its life insurance joint venture partner in China last year, HSBC also wants to take full control of its asset management company in the country, Matos said.

(Reporting by Anshuman Daga; Editing by Sumeet Chatterjee and Lincoln Feast.)

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