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RETAIL BANKING | Staff Reporter, Singapore
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HSBC targets US$1b in additional wealth revenue by 2020 from Asia's super-rich

The bank is adding 1,300 roles that will be assigned primarily in Hong Kong, Singapore and China.

With Asia tipped to lead high-net worth wealth creation as Western powerhouses lose momentum to the region’s upstarts, HSBC is banking on its accummulated expertise and heritage in an effort to capture the wealth of opportunities arising from the region’s explosive wealth boom.

Of the 2,158 billionaires around the world in 2017, Asia is home to 814 such individuals with a combined net worth of $2.7t, according to a report from UBS and PwC. In fact, over three new billionaires were minted weekly in Asia in 2017 with China setting the pace as it created two new billionaires on a weekly basis. The rapid pace of wealth creation in the region coupled with Asian billionaires’ significant investments in emerging technologies like AI, machine learning, blockchain and crypto informs the increasingly bullish expectations of UBS and PwC who, at the current growth rate, forecast billionaires based in Asia-Pacific to be wealthier than their US counterparts in less than three years.

Also readAsia beats Europe and America in private banking gains in 2017

In response to this explosive growth momentum, HSBC has been steadily beefing up its frontline wealth teams supporting its wealth management, retail and private banking segments by adding 1,300 roles primarily in Hong Kong, Singapore and China. In particular, HSBC Singapore’s retail banking and wealth management business will target individuals with US$1m in investable assets, together with its private banking unit which targets individuals with over US$5m, in particular the ultra-high net worth segment with US$100m or more in investible assets. HSBC is looking to grow wealth revenues by at least US$1b by 2020 from retail and Private Bank wealth management, insurance and asset management.

Also readHSBC Singapore rolls out investment advisory platform for high-net worth depositors

In an exclusive interview with Asian Banking & Finance, Mark Surgenor, head of wealth at HSBC discusses in detail the bank’s edge over its peers in the region and how it plans to stay ahead of Asia’s rapidly evolving wealth management game.

HSBC is adding a significant number to its retail and private banking teams by 2022 in a bid to capitalise on the explosive boom in Asia’s high-net worth wealth. What role will Asia play in HSBC’s banking agenda?
We expect that Asia will become the largest creator of wealth world-wide – the region’s total share of global private financial wealth is forecast to overtake North America by 2021 – and is growing rapidly. So it’s a huge opportunity for us. We see opportunities across retail banking, wealth management and private bank segments.

Geographical boundaries are disappearing for the emerging wealthy in Asia – they are travelling more, studying more overseas, investing more internationally, and have businesses in multiple markets. With needs, aspirations and investment philosophies that are highly mobile, our customers have complicated lives that need the help of a bank that can fully support them.

HSBC’s global network and especially our long heritage in Asia gives us the edge to support such clients’ wealth needs across different markets.

How is the Asian banking market different from Europe and how is HSBC leveraging on this heritage to capture the Asian market? What are the opportunities and challenges of the Asian pivot?
Well, if you think about our geographic spread and our capabilities - - we have private banking, we have Jade, we have Premier, we have asset management, we have insurance - and a lot of that is locally embedded into all of the key countries across Asia where the growth is going to come from. The real opportunity for us is to put all of that together and make sure we bring the very best of HSBC to our clients, and make sure we capitalise on that opportunity and give the best possible service that we can.

Against a chronic talent shortage in Asia, what strategies is HSBC deploying to lure and retain in-demand relationship managers when Chinese and international private banks are also beefing up their teams?
The key for us is making sure that we have the very best proposition for relationship managers – we’re confident we have something to offer other players can’t easily match. In terms of personal development, HSBC gives a lot to groom our people, develop and retain them – be it through courses via HSBC University, or support for employees obtaining country or global accreditations. As well as recruiting externally, HSBC will fill some of the new positions through internal promotions: we pride ourselves on having a robust programme to grow talent.

The ability to deliver for our customers is also attractive to future employees – we can connect our customers to our global network, help provide for a broad range of financial solution needs from retirement to legacy planning, and this comes alongside manufacturing supported by our insurance and asset management arms.

What are HSBC’s goals in the next three to five years?
We’ve talked about the opportunity and we’re making a huge investment in people. We’re also going to invest significantly in digitisation to help support and empower our frontline, and enhance customer interactions. It’s really making sure that we do the very best for our customers.

For us, ensuring that we’re successful over the next three to five years will be about leveraging the capability we already have, and bringing it together our investments in people, capability and technology, and making sure that we can serve our clients better than anybody else. Our goal is simple – to be as client-centric as possible. We want clients to value us and think of us first whenever they want to look at their wealth needs across Asia.

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