HSBC’s private bank in Asia expects strong net new inflows in 2023

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The Business Times – NET new inflows for HSBC Private Banking are on a strong momentum after a record showing in 2022. Inflows may well rise further as efforts to establish an onshore private banking presence in Asia begin to bear fruit.

Siew Meng Tan, regional head of HSBC Global Private Banking (Asia-Pacific), said: “We had one of the record years in terms of net new investable assets (in 2022), comparable to 2019. We surpassed that with very strong momentum that has carried into the first quarter.

Siew Meng Tan, regional head of HSBC Global Private Banking (Asia-Pacific), says India’s market size is a “compelling’‘ opportunity, and the bank expects to roll out onshore private banking services there later this year. PHOTO: HSBC

“This is grounded in the fact that we’ve been building the private bank business over the past five years… strengthening our presence to make sure we can be close to clients.’’

At end-2022, HSBC Global Private Banking in Asia reported total client assets of US$174 billion. Net new invested assets came to US$15 billion, compared to net inflows of US$14 billion in 2019.

Over the past couple of years, the group has focused on expanding its onshore presence in China, where it now has operations in six cities. The newest onshore centre under development is in India, which is expected to launch later this year.

“While it’s too early for us to share any updates on our hiring plans, India’s market size makes it a compelling opportunity for us and we’re investing accordingly.’’

Tan said private clients typically have an 80-20 mix of onshore and offshore assets. An enlarged onshore presence is hence pivotal to gain a larger share of wallet.

Singapore and Hong Kong are HSBC’s main booking centres. Singapore captures flows from Asean, greater China and the Middle East.

In China, offices in Hangzhou and Chengdu were opened in mid-2022, in addition to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Tan said headcount for private banking operations in China hit 150 last year and will expand to 200 this year, comprising frontline sales, product specialists and investment advisers.

The group has also set up an onshore private banking business in Thailand.

On the product front, HSBC Private Bank has tapped the use of artificial intelligence (AI) for a structured product, in an effort to help clients in Singapore and Hong Kong navigate the volatile market. The product is linked to an AI-driven multi-asset index developed by HSBC and Equbot. The investment strategy is rules-based and features an IBM AI engine and other patented technologies.

Tan said the structure is a first in the market, and “very successful’’ in attracting assets. “The product has given us a head start in winning flows from clients… We packaged it in a way that was safe for clients, so that resonated well.’’

The bank recently hosted its global NextGen event in Singapore, attended by over 50 NextGen clients, aged 25 to 35 from Asia, US and Europe. The event, with the theme “Reimagine Possibility’’, featured new-economy business founders, including Dan Vahdat of Huma Therapeutics and Arthur Lam, co-founder of Negawatt Utility.

In terms of digital capabilities, HSBC Global Private Banking committed to investing US$100 million between 2021 and 2022, and has allocated more funding for 2023. Last year, it launched hybrid advisory service HSBC Prism Advisory in Asia, which harnesses data-driven analytics and is able to monitor a portfolio round the clock. Prism is powered by Aladdin Wealth technology, a risk platform by BlackRock.

It also rolled out a discretionary digital platform and claims to be the first to offer discretionary portfolio management on a mobile app.

Main Image by: Reuters

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