HSBC setting up local subsidiary to handle retail, wealth business

HSBC's Singapore branch is spinning off its retail banking and wealth management division into a local subsidiary.

This locally incorporated unit, which will be operational from May 9, will oversee the running of all operations of the retail banking and wealth management business here.

All other lines of business of HSBC in Singapore, which include commercial banking, private banking and global banking and markets, will continue to operate under the existing Singapore branch.

Mr Guy Harvey-Samuel, HSBC's chief executive officer for Singapore, said the move reflects the success of the bank's retail business here.

"More importantly, this move demonstrates HSBC's strong and long-term commitment to the Singapore market," he added.

"Singapore is a top-seven priority country for the HSBC Group globally and we will continue to invest in our business here. We are excited about new opportunities to further expand our presence."

The move to locally incorporate the retail banking and wealth management business follows an announcement by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in April last year that HSBC is considered one of seven domestic systemically important banks in Singapore.

Such banks could have a significant impact on the Singapore financial system's stability and the proper functioning of the broader economy.

All banks here have to undergo an annual assessment of their systemic importance.

Banks with a significant retail presence are required to locally incorporate their retail operations.

In line with this, HSBC's new subsidiary will be subject to additional MAS regulatory requirements aimed at strengthening the resilience of the banking system and boosting protection of retail customers.

The subsidiary will hold a full bank licence with qualifying full bank privileges. These privileges include being able to open more branches than other foreign banks.

Qualifying full banks are also allowed to conduct the full range of banking businesses permitted under the Banking Act, including taking retail deposits.

Once the new subsidiary is up and running, it will be business as usual, HSBC said.

Mr Matthew Colebrook, the head of retail banking and wealth management for HSBC in Singapore, added: "Our customers remain central to HSBC and we will ensure that the transfer of customer accounts to the subsidiary is a seamless and largely behind-the-scenes process.

"More broadly, HSBC aims to be a primary bank for affluent and aspirant Singaporeans and those with international needs."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 05, 2016, with the headline 'HSBC setting up local subsidiary to handle retail, wealth business'. Print Edition | Subscribe