HSBC ramps up investment and hiring to grow market share

At HSBC's new Raffles Place branch opening are (from left): Mr Chriz Lim, branch director; Mr Tony Cripps, CEO, HSBC Singapore; Mr Anurag Mathur, head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management; and Ms Fion Khoh, head of Network.
At HSBC's new Raffles Place branch opening are (from left): Mr Chriz Lim, branch director; Mr Tony Cripps, CEO, HSBC Singapore; Mr Anurag Mathur, head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management; and Ms Fion Khoh, head of Network.PHOTO: HSBC

HSBC is ramping up its Singapore operations to grab a bigger share of the consumer and wholesale banking business.

Under a new three-year country plan, the UK-based banking giant will be hiring an additional 300 people as it aims to significantly increase market share, said Tony Cripps, HSBC Singapore chief executive.

HSBC officially opened its latest retail banking branch in Raffles Place yesterday, marking a shift towards increased financial advisory activities within its 11 outlets here.

The Raffles Place opening "signals HSBC's intention to increase investment into Singapore across its consumer and wholesale banking businesses as part of a new three-year country plan", the bank said in a statement.

Singapore is one of the priority markets for HSBC, said Mr Cripps.

"HSBC will be investing in increasing headcount, systems, and capability across our retail, private banking and institutional banking businesses," he added.

"Over the coming years, HSBC is looking to add headcount of around 10 per cent from the current 3,000 base in Singapore."

The increase over the next three years will be mainly for its retail, commercial, private bank and innovation businesses.

By customer accounts, Singapore is the group's third largest in Asia behind Hong Kong and mainland China. In terms of profit before tax for 2017, Singapore was the fourth largest contributor in Asia behind Hong Kong, China and India.

Singapore is the centre of activity for Asean and the bank's plan is anchored in supporting the macro-economic and structural developments in the region.

"HSBC has operated in Singapore for 140 years and it remains a priority market for us," said Mr Cripps.

"We are entering a new growth phase and hope to play a critical role in supporting Singapore's ambition to be the leading wealth and trade hub of the region. The opening of the Raffles Place branch is a very visible demonstration of our renewed focus to grow our business in the Singapore market."

In addition to growing its consumer and private banking arms, HSBC will focus on supporting the infrastructure and sustainable development of Asean and getting a bigger share of the trade and investment flows moving to the region.

HSBC intends to support Asean firms and corporates using Singapore as a hub for international expansion.

The bank estimates that more than US$2.1 trillion (S$2.8 trillion) of infrastructure is needed across the major six Asean markets of Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Philippines but only US$910 million of government funding is available.

Singapore plays a crucial role in regional development given that two-thirds of infrastructure financing is arranged here.

HSBC said it has dedicated infrastructure champions within its global markets and commercial banking client coverage teams that can advise on these deals.

Last month, Indonesia became the first country to sell a green sukuk or Islamic bond internationally in a US$1.25 billion deal. HSBC was one of five banks that handled the sale.

Of the 37,400 international companies in Singapore, 7,000 are multinationals and 60 per cent have regional responsibilities. At the same time, Singapore has one of the highest number of small and medium-sized enterprises in the world on a per capita basis.

Note: This article has been edited for clarity.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 17, 2018, with the headline 'HSBC ramps up investment and hiring to grow market share'. Print Edition | Subscribe