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Restructuring HSBC merges WM clients

A combined unit will address “the entire spectrum of private wealth, from retail clients to ultra high net worth”.

HSBC has formed a new global wealth and personal banking (WPB) unit, combining retail banking, wealth management and global private banking, according to a statement from the bank.

The move comes after HSBC last month reported a $7.3bn drop in annual profit and a pledge to cut 35,000 jobs or 15% of its global workforce over three years.

Management aims to cut $4.5bn in costs globally.

“As we combine capabilities, platforms and resources, we will seek to reduce duplication of activities,” a spokeswoman for the firm told FSA.

“However, we are not working to a target number of role reductions and our aim is to have the right resources supporting the right parts of the business, aligned to our growth agenda.”

The bank did not provide details on how the WPB unit will address the different requirements, both regulatory and individual, of retail and professional investors.

According to the spokeswoman: “The WPB covers the entire spectrum of private wealth, from retail customers to UHNW customers, and will leverage the full breadth of products, capabilities and resources available within both businesses while HSBC global private banking remains an individual brand.”

Like troubled Deutsche Bank, which last year announced its own staff reduction of 18,000 employees globally, HSBC sees the wealth management business as a lifeline.

HSBC’s global private banking attracted a record $23bn of net new money in 2019, two-thirds of which were in Asia, according to the bank.

In Asia, wealth revenues grew 12% in 2019 year on year to $5.7bn, the statement noted.

Asset management, retail and private banking combined account for about $1.4trn in assets with nearly half derived from Asia, the statement said.

WM recruitment in Asia

Separately, the statement also noted that the recruitment for wealth teams across Hong Kong, Singapore and mainland China is on track.

In December last year, HSBC private banking pulled from Credit Suisse and UBS to fill new positions in the ultra high-net-worth business, making four external hires to fill roles in wealth management.

This move came after the bank’s two other appointments to the UHNW business in November last year.

HSBC’s ambitious plans for its Asia private banking business includes hiring 700 over five years to the end of 2022 and investing $100m in digital and technology, the bank said last year.

Part of the Bonhill Group.