HSBC chairman gives hints of looming strategy revamp

HSBC's strategy update is expected to come alongside its full-year results on Feb 23. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (BLOOMBERG) - HSBC Holdings plans to accelerate its expansion across Asia in its imminent strategy refresh, according to chairman Mark Tucker.

Mr Tucker said "the world had changed" in the 11 months since Europe's biggest bank announced a long-awaited overhaul, forcing the lender to make its plans more radical.

"Economic realities mean that what we were planning to do in February, we need to be even more urgent in doing," Mr Tucker told the virtual Asian Financial Forum on Monday (Jan 18). "We are accelerating the plan by confirming areas of focus for the bank, especially in Asia where we see real opportunities to grow our wealth business and expand across South Asia."

HSBC's strategy update is expected to come alongside its full-year results on Feb 23. The London-based lender has seen its share price drop by a third in the last year amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The bank has previously said it will reduce its headcount by 35,000 and target cost reductions in underperforming units in the United States and Europe.

Chief executive Noel Quinn, who took the top job on a permanent basis last March, is leading the development of the strategy.

Mr Tucker said the bank would be "bringing forward investment and building more capabilities" in the coming year. "We are intending to up the pace, up the intensity and up the delivery in 2021."

Mr Tucker said he saw "substantial opportunities" for HSBC's business in China's Greater Bay Area, which encompasses Hong Kong, the bank's biggest profit centre, as well as several other major cities, including Macau.

"It's the opportunity to have and lead in finance across Greater Bay with the marketplaces that is enormously exciting and our intent is to step up commitments, step up investment across the Greater Bay Area, as I say, in areas of the wealth business particularly," said Mr Tucker.

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