Fit For The Future

HSBC Private Banking transforms itself to best help clients with sustainable investment and legacy strategies in a rapidly changing world.
Philip Kunz, Head of Global Private Banking, Southeast Asia, HSBC Private Banking

The Covid-19 pandemic is rapidly changing the way we live and work, even as longer-term megatrends such as technological advancements and climate change continue to alter the global landscape. Amid this shifting environment, the needs of high net worth individuals and their families are evolving faster than ever.

Against this backdrop, HSBC Private Banking is transforming itself to stay relevant to its clients by leveraging its strengths as an international financial institution; one that combines talent with technology.

“Our ambition is to build a better and different Private Bank. Harnessing our international network, our role is to illuminate opportunities, ideas, places and people not known yet,” says Philip Kunz, Head of Global Private Banking, Southeast Asia, at HSBC.

This is part of a broader strategic transformation programme announced by the HSBC Group, which will involve reshaping and reorganising the organisation to improve efficiency, investing in new skills and creating a simpler and better digital experience. Simply put, HSBC aims to be a “bank fit for the future”.

Part of this strategic transformation programme involves a significant investment in accelerating HSBC’s growth in Asia over the next few years. Singapore is a key market for the HSBC Group, and the bank will continue to invest to grow its presence and market share in the city-state.

On its part, HSBC Private Banking will continue to steer towards growth by expanding in its areas of strength in the wealth management space.

Sustainable Solutions

HSBC Private Banking is focused on addressing the growing demand amongst its clients to integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into their investment decision-making processes. In particular, next generation private banking clients expect to see more from their investments beyond just financial returns. These young investors want to help better society and the environment through their investments.

The pandemic is likely to accelerate this movement towards investing in businesses that focus on impact and purpose, as the scale of the crisis prompts a rising wave of urgency when it comes to sustainability.

“I think what has been happening in the world has triggered a deep reflection about how we can change the way we live for a better world. This has resonated with clients in our conversations. We want to support our clients by inspiring and helping them to make positive changes,” says Kunz. 

Thus, HSBC is taking a hands-on approach to this ethos, providing sustainability-related thought leadership and innovations with capital financing. “Integrating ESG into investing isn’t just about doing good, it also makes good business sense. Companies that are synonymous with ESG have shown to be agile enough to adapt, and therefore resilient and sustainable,” he adds.

In April this year, HSBC moved into its new head office at Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 2, where it is the anchor tenant. The new office is part of an island-wide upgrade and investment of its branches across Singapore.

“Our ambition is to build a better and different Private Bank. Harnessing our international network, our role is to illuminate opportunities, ideas, places and people not known yet.”

– Philip Kunz, Head of Global Private Banking, Southeast Asia, HSBC Private Banking

Family Legacy

Legacy planning has always been a complexity for wealthy families, and the ongoing pandemic has led many to reflect on this important issue. HSBC Private Banking believes that one needs to take a holistic approach to legacy, which should go beyond financial wealth. More importantly, it should encompass ensuring the happiness and prosperity of future generations to come.

Among other things, this will require the senior generation of families to have open and constructive conversations regarding the paths that their heirs can take. This includes discussions around setting up a philanthropic trust or foundation in the family name that they can run in the future, and practical advice on establishing and running businesses of their own.

HSBC Private Banking is no stranger in this area. It has been supporting some of the world’s most influential families with wealth transition and legacy matters for generations, from trusts and estate planning to philanthropic and family office advisory.

“We’ve had several meaningful conversations with our clients to address what is close to their hearts. Good communication is essential to successfully navigate the storm and protect the wealth and sustainability of family businesses,” Kunz says.

Succession Planning

Closely related to family legacy is the topic of succession planning. The massive disruption wrought by Covid-19 puts in sharp relief the need for family businesses to invest in a proper succession plan. Indeed, the current uncertainties can be a catalyst for family members to conduct discussions about their future.

While every family business is unique in their makeup, what remains unchanged is their desire to avoid the curse of shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations—the very real risk of declining wealth.

“We have consistently seen that family businesses are better prepared for the future when they have a well-thought-out approach to communicating about succession,” Kunz says.

The world is changing rapidly, and perhaps irrevocably, as a result of the pandemic. Amid this sea of uncertainty, HSBC Private Banking is transforming itself for the future to ensure it remains capable of serving the group’s clients in supporting their sustainable ambitions for their family, business and legacy.

This article is issued by The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited and its wholly owned subsidiary, HSBC Trustee (Singapore) Limited.

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