Wed, Sep 19, 2018 - Page 11 News List

HSBC to boost Asia-Pacific wealth management staff


HSBC Holdings PLC plans to increase its wealth management staff in Asia as CEO John Flint bets on growth in the region.

The bank plans to add more than 1,300 positions, split roughly between retail and private banking, by 2022, according to the heads of the two divisions, which together currently employ just more than 32,000 people in the region.

The bulk of the hires, some of which could be internal, would be in Hong Kong and Singapore.

The wealth strategy is part of Flint’s plan to grow HSBC by expanding in Asian markets, including greater China and Southeast Asia.

The CEO, promoted in February, in June said that HSBC would pour as much as US$17 billion by 2020 into expanding the region’s business and improving technology.

The bank aims to grow revenue from Asia by at least US$1 billion during the same period.

“We have a real opportunity to do more and that’s to further build on Hong Kong and to materially build what we do today in Singapore,” HSBC Asia-Pacific head of retail banking and wealth management Kevin Martin said in an interview.

“Both businesses need to do it in concert,” he said, referring to the retail and private banking units.

The London-based bank’s plans for wealth management in Asia, which is dominated by global banks such as UBS Group AG, Citigroup Inc and Credit Suisse Group AG, come as regional firms including DBS Group Holdings Ltd and BOC Hong Kong (Holdings) Ltd are also expanding amid an unprecedented rise in the region’s assets.

HSBC on Monday said Antonio Simoes, who was head of UK and Europe, would run global private banking from Jan. 1 next year.

Peter Boyles, who currently runs the group, is to retire after 43 years at the company.

Offshore wealth in Asia, excluding Japan, has been growing at about 10 percent per year, according to Boston Consulting Group data, faster than the 5 percent globally.

Offshore wealth from China alone has amounted to about US$1 trillion this year, the consulting firm said.

Hong Kong’s wealth managers expect to double the money they handle over the next five years to about US$2 trillion, the territory’s Private Wealth Management Association said in a report published with KPMG China, citing increasing interest by Chinese looking to diversify their holdings.

“The wealth that the Chinese have already offshore is a massive piece of opportunity for us,” HSBC Asia-Pacific head of global private banking Tan Siew Meng said.

The expected growth in the industry might exacerbate Hong Kong’s shortage of relationship managers, the report said.

Two-thirds of respondents said a “limited talent pool” was the biggest supply-side constraint.

Martin said the 1,300 staff increase is “not a big scary number” given that his retail bank, including subsidiary Hang Seng Bank Ltd (恒生銀行), employs about 31,000 people in the Asia-Pacific region.

Staff within the group might transfer to the wealth business, he said.

Hiring would be both internal and external, and include relationship managers, product specialists and advisers, Tan said.

Her private bank had 1,100 staff in the region at the end of last year.

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