HSBC is to bolster its newly combined retail and private banking business as it aims for the internationally-minded wealthy in markets including the China, Singapore, and the United States.
HSBC’s new retail and private banking division, controlling clients’ assets worth $1.4trl, will target wealthier clients who frequently travel and invest abroad. The British multinational bank will pursue such customers in more than 10 markets, including China where its market share is small.
The bank also intends to expand in the three major markets where it has scale. In these markets—UK, Hong Kong, and Mexico—HSBC will focus on mortgages, wealth and insurance products, and unsecured lending respectively.
A restructuring plan
Earlier this month, HSBC announced it would axe 35,00 jobs worldwide. The mass layoffs are part of restructuring plan the company has undertaken after its profits fell by a third last year.
The bank is aiming to scale back its headcount from 235,000 to 200,000 over the next three years. The plan is to cut £3.5bn in costs by 2022 and shed more than £70bn of assets.
Last year’s drop in profits was mainly due to a £5.6bn write-off, related to its Global Banking, Markets, and Commercial Banking divisions in Europe.
Tough competition in target markets
As part of its expansion plan in China, HSBC has hired 800 frontline and support staff in wealth management since 2017. These are mainly product specialists and relationship managers for its private bank.
The bank will face tough challenges in its target markets. In both China and the United States, domestic players dominate the retail banking market. And global giants such as UBS already rule the market for wealthy clients.
In recent year, HSBC’s retail banking business in the UK and Hong Kong have powered its profits. In other markets, such as France, its sub-scale high-street banking presence has been a drag on earnings.