1 August 2019

Supporting HSBC clients across the wealth continuum

HSBC is building stronger collaboration and connectivity across different parts of the bank, bringing about seamless and more bespoke banking for its clients in Asia as they grow in wealth.

The drive comes as the bank, sitting at the heart of Asia’s wealth boom, has recognised changes in their clients’ banking needs.

“From their children to their business expansion, what I've picked up in these many conversations and journeys that I've been privileged to, is that clients actually prefer to do it seamlessly, out of one organisation. This requires a bank that has a strong balance sheet, a global footprint and the capability to respond to a personal banking need or a corporate banking desire,” said Philip Kunz, Head of Global Private Banking, Southeast Asia, HSBC Private Banking.

“The value clients find in consolidating relationships with one bank is not just that of convenience, but also in having a more holistic set of solutions for managing their wealth,” said Anurag Mathur, HSBC Singapore’s Head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management.

“Certainly from a wealth and advisory perspective, if you have your money in multiple places and each of those advisors can’t see the totality of your relationship, you tend to get piecemeal advice.”

The aim is to continuously offer seamless, universal banking across all its markets globally. The bank has also made capturing Asian wealth as one of its global strategic priorities, meaning there will be further investments into the region – Singapore, China and Hong Kong, in particular.

Close collaboration and connectivity

Together, HSBC’s retail banking and wealth management unit and the global private banking arm are focused on fostering a closer relationship and leveraging each business’ network and capabilities to build a better experience for our clients.

Mr Mathur explained how strong global connectivity can bolster the bank’s value to clients, giving it an edge over other players, “It could be as simple as helping a retail client open a UK bank account while in Singapore, for his daughter who will soon leave for her university education overseas. His relationship manager here can connect the client to our UK counterparts to facilitate the application. This way, our clients will have their account opened even before they arrive,” he said.

The close collaboration between both teams continues to carry through even with the segmentation of high-net-worth clients that they serve.

HSBC Jade, which sits within retail banking, supports affluent individuals who hold at least US$1 million upwards to US$5 million with the bank. It caters to individuals who are amassing significant wealth, serving as a springboard to the private banking platform once they are ready for more complex wealth solutions.

For clients who have more than US$5 million in investible assets and require bespoke wealth planning and financial advisory, they are supported by HSBC Private Banking.

Mr Kunz explains, “We could have a client who banks with the private bank and has a discretionary mandate with us, but should he also need a mortgage and credit card, we can refer the client to retail banking. It becomes a seamless journey no matter what entry point you are at.”

Banking for bespoke needs

As families and individuals grow in wealth, their needs and demands naturally become broader and deeper – from looking at ways to restructure their businesses, to intimate questions of estate planning, legacy and philanthropy.

That is where HSBC Private Banking plays to its strengths in bespoke and sophisticated wealth advisory, helping international business owners, high-net-worth individuals and families grow, manage and preserve their wealth across generations.

The private bank serves clients through a team helmed by a dedicated relationship manager, supported by investment counsellors and product specialists. That allows the bank to tailor and manage portfolios in line with each client’s risk appetite and investment criteria.

Mr Kunz thinks that is the biggest differentiator of the private bank. “First of all, the product and solutions universe is far larger and the complexity is greater. Take for instance structured products, that’s something we would only apply for the right, risk-aware clients.”

Private banking clients will also have access to Lombard lending which provides financing options customised to their financial situation and long term goals.

Planning for a sustainable legacy

Through its trust company, Private Wealth Solutions, HSBC Private Banking helps families understand their legacy concerns and the philanthropic opportunities they want to pursue. With the bank’s global network, the family trust is not limited to just local or regional geographies.

Mr Kunz shared, “The largest wealth transfer between generations is expected to unfold in Asia-Pacific over the next few years, estimated in the trillions of dollars. Yet, surveys indicate that only a minority of the wealthy have a succession plan.”

Campden Research's Global Family Office Report last year found that less than half of the families (43 per cent) surveyed, have a plan to develop new leaders to take over the business.

“Many see succession planning as simply choosing a family member and throwing them the keys to the business at the right time,” Mr Kunz remarked.

“Something as sensitive as legacy planning takes time and trust built over time. We have trust accounts that have transitioned to the next generation already, some even the third. As one of the oldest trust businesses in Singapore with a 70 year heritage, it makes a difference when you have the experience of having gone through that transition.”

Keeping the bank on its toes

Banks have made Asia their priority in a bid to capture the region’s fast-growing wealth. Singapore, having seen rising domestic wealth and international flows, has also attracted players to set up shop here.

HSBC’s strategy to offer wealthy clients a seamless, universal banking experience seems so intuitive – might it inspire others to follow in its footsteps?

“Perhaps, albeit with great difficulty as they do not have HSBC’s business model,” Mr Kunz replied.

“There are some formidable and respected banks out there that are similar in appearance – but I truly believe that we are in a unique position to be able to bring the very best of the HSBC Group to our most valued clients – few industry players can match up to that”.

A version of this piece was first published in The Business Times on 31st July 2019.