As HSBC moves confidently towards its ambition of becoming Asia’s leading wealth manager, the bank is leveraging on Singapore as an international wealth hub to unlock new growth opportunities for its clients in the region.
HSBC’s history in Singapore dates back to 1877, when it opened its first branch on the island. As one of the earliest banks to establish presence in Singapore, HSBC has been able to tap on its long and storied heritage to build a legacy of trust with clients in the city-state.
“HSBC has always been focused on helping our clients in Singapore capture opportunities—from supporting the country’s rubber exports in the 1880s, to its post-war rebuild, through to the 1970’s technology push,” Wong Kee Joo, CEO of HSBC Singapore, says.
As Singapore enters a brave new world—moulded by digital and ESG adaption, shifting trade and supply chains, and rising wealth—we will continue to help our clients turn these transitions into opportunities.
A Distinctive “One Bank” Approach
Widely recognised as a centre of excellence in trading and finance, Singapore is ideal for businesses and investors in the region to both grow and preserve wealth.
“We are seeing greater interest from Asian clients who are setting up and expanding family offices. They adopt institutional approaches to build continuity, diversification and resilience in their investment portfolios.”– Philip Kunz, Head of Global Private Banking, South Asia HSBC Private Banking
“Singapore is at the heart of HSBC’s expansion,” says Philip Kunz, HSBC’s Head of Global Private Banking for South Asia. “The city’s wealthy population continues to rise, as it establishes itself as one of the leading private banking and wealth management centres globally.”
Driving HSBC’s comprehensive wealth capabilities is the bank’s universal banking platform, underpinned by its extensive global footprint and strong balance sheet. HSBC stands apart by bringing the full breadth of the group’s capabilities across transactional, corporate and investment banking to clients with this “one bank” approach.
In particular, HSBC’s strong presence in the world’s top eight wealth hubs, including Singapore, enables the bank to deliver transactional banking and wealth management services in the most relevant markets to affluent customers looking for international opportunities.
Family Office Specialists
As wealth accumulates rapidly in Asia, more private banking clients are choosing to set up specialised family offices in Singapore to manage their financial affairs. These organisations offer clients dedicated and tailored services in a variety of areas; from trust and estate planning to investment management and governance.
The city-state ticks the right boxes in terms of what wealthy families should consider when deciding where to establish their family offices, says Kunz.
“The choice of where to set up a family office can have significant consequences,” says Kunz. “It’s not simply choosing a location for wealth management, but also a place where the interests of the family can be best served and safeguarded.”
To better serve its clients, HSBC Private Banking in Singapore established a Family Office Advisory team to provide structuring and inter-generational wealth planning services. It also recently launched a dedicated Independent Asset Managers (IAM) desk to meet the needs of family offices and independent advisors managing wealth on behalf of their clients.
Increasingly, UHNW clients appoint IAMs to oversee their wealth assets and in turn partner with private banks to deliver wealth management advisory and execution. Unsurprisingly, the bank has seen strong uptake in the service since its launch in Singapore late last year.
“We are seeing greater interest from Asian clients who are setting up and expanding family offices. They adopt institutional approaches to build continuity, diversification and resilience in their investment portfolios.”
HSBC is also evolving to better serve clients’ needs. “As wealthy individuals and businesses professionalise the management of their family wealth, this new model combines the full strength of advisory and structuring capabilities in our private banking and investment banking teams to meet our clients’ increasingly sophisticated investment and family needs,” adds Kunz.
A Sustainable Finance Leader
HSBC is helping clients from across the wealth continuum to not only build sustainable wealth, but also understand the impact of environment, social and governance (ESG) issues in their investment decisions.
With HSBC’s “one bank” approach, clients can explore innovative ways to invest sustainably in partnership with HSBC’s investment bank, a leading force in sustainable finance and ESG investing. The bank has delivered a range of landmark sustainability solutions for its clients.
“We have executed market-leading transactions and launched innovative sustainable finance solutions,” says Wong. “We are also driving industry groups to embed sustainability into banking practices within Singapore. We are committed to become a Net Zero bank, by reducing our carbon footprint in our operations, supply chain and financing portfolio.”
Reflecting its success in this area, HSBC was named Best Bank for Sustainable Finance Asia 2020 at the Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2020 and Investment Bank of the Year for Sustainability 2020 by The Banker.
“At the end of the day, the goal of our climate ambition is to support our clients and the communities in which we operate into thrive in the low carbon transition and build a more sustainable future,” Wong adds.
“Our over 140-year history in Singapore gives us an advantageous position. Given our commercial heritage, on-the-ground expertise, digital capabilities and international connectivity, we are uniquely placed to open up a world of opportunity for our clients.”– Wong Kee Joo, Chief Executive Officer, HSBC Singapore
Investing For Growth
HSBC will continue to invest in building its wealth capabilities in Singapore and the rest of Asia as it progresses towards its goal of becoming the leading wealth bank in the region. The bank has committed to invest over US$3.5 billion in the next five years to accelerate the growth of its Wealth and Personal Banking business in Asia.
These investments will focus on expanding distribution capabilities in Singapore, Hong Kong, and China. It will also enhance the bank’s digital wealth capabilities and develop new products that will deliver a distinctive customer experience.
“Singapore plays an integral role in our Asian wealth growth strategy,” says Wong. “Our over 140-year history in Singapore gives us an advantageous position. Given our commercial heritage, on-the-ground expertise, digital capabilities and international connectivity, we are uniquely placed to open up a world of opportunity for our clients.”