HSBC pumps US$3.5b into Asia wealth drive

Business | Victor Zhong 23 Apr 2021

HSBC (0005) will invest US$3.5 billion (HK$27.3 billion) to boost growth in the Asian wealth management business and make 5,000 wealth-related hires in the next five years.

HSBC's wealth business is an important pillar of its growth strategy in Asia, said Maggie Ng, head of wealth and personal banking, HSBC Hong Kong.

This came as the lender launched the new 'HSBC Jade Private Market Investments' service to support high net worth clients in seizing exclusive opportunities, which were previously only available in institutional and private banking.

The new service will enable HSBC Jade clients to strengthen their portfolios with a more diverse range of investments, including private equity and hedge funds, primary bonds, equity block trades and private placement of structured notes, according to the bank.

Under the category of private equities and hedge funds, HSBC will connect HSBC Jade clients with potential returns from private real estate investments in global locations, as well as other popular hedge funds in the private banking space. There will be no capital lock-up or capital calls, along with a discounted initial charge of 0.95 percent on transaction value for HSBC Jade clients, according to the lender.

HSBC Jade clients can gain access to the primary market of newly issued bonds and private placements not available to the public with an entry threshold of HK$1 million.

"The city's high net worth population is expected to grow by an average of 12 percent annually, driving demand for more sophisticated investment solutions," said Sami Abouzahr, head of customer wealth, wealth and personal banking, HSBC Hong Kong.

Earlier this week, Bloomberg reported that HSBC is shipping senior executives from its London headquarters to Hong Kong to seal a pivot to Asia.

Already smarting from a cut to the bonus pool after losses in Europe, some senior executives in Greater China worry their push into the world's second-largest economy could be slowed by added bureaucracy and blurred reporting lines, sources said.

With the global heads of investment banking, commercial banking and wealth relocating to Hong Kong this year, senior bankers expect friction with regional chief Peter Wong, who has so far enjoyed a high degree of autonomy. Wong has expressed his unhappiness about the costs of the relocations, one of the people said.

Meanwhile, in another development, climate activists shattered 19 windows at HSBC's headquarters in Canary Wharf yesterday as part of a protest against the financing of what the group says is devastating climate change that threatens the planet.

The female activists from the Extinction Rebellion group used hammers to break the windows and pasted stickers on them before sitting down to wait for the police to arrest them, Reuters reported.

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