Thursday 20 February 2020 1:52 pm

HSBC courts the globally mobile with new $1.4 trillion wealth business

Banking giant HSBC plans to invest heavily in its newly merged retail and private banking businesses, the unit’s chief executive has said, targeting internationally minded customers in markets including China and the US.

Charlie Nunn, a former McKinsey consultant, took control of the new division, which has $1.4 trillion (£1.1 trillion) of client assets, following the unveiling of HSBC’s radical strategy overhaul earlier this week.

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The division will aim to grow in three major markets where HSBC has scale — Britain, Hong Kong, and Mexico — focusing respectively on mortgages, wealth and insurance products, and unsecured lending, Nunn told Reuters.

HSBC will also target wealthier customers who frequently travel or invest overseas in more than 10 markets where it has a smaller share, including China. 

“We’re in some of the fastest-growing wealth markets in the world… the fact we now have a $1.4 trillion wealth business should be exciting for our customers and hopefully scary for our competitors,” Nunn said.

HSBC today named Kevin Martin, currently head of Asia Pacific retail banking and wealth management, as the chief operating officer its new global wealth and personal banking business. 

Previously, HSBC’s private banking unit catered to clients with over $5m of investable assets, while those will less were served by its retail banking and wealth management division. 

As part of its further expansion into Asia, HSBC was hired 800 frontline and support staff in its wealth management unit since 2017, Nunn told Reuters.

“We remain committed to really trying to capture share and be more relevant in the Greater Bay area of China,” Nunn said.

HSBC is also aiming to expand its partnership with Blackrock, the world’s largest asset manager, to use its Aladdin investment management software, 

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While HSBC’s British and Hong Kong retail banking businesses have helped boost its profits in recent years, in other markets including France its smaller high street banking presence has been a drag on earnings.

It was reported this week that the bank is attempting to sell its French business. Nunn declined to comment on the progress of the strategic review, but said a decision would be made in one to two months.