Text size

HSBC GPB’s Siew Meng Tan announces plan to re-enter onshore India in 2023

Siew Meng Tan, HSBC GPB
Siew Meng Tan, HSBC GPB
Listen to article

HSBC Global Private Banking (GPB) has announced plans to re-enter the India onshore market in 2023.

“We have been proactively looking at how we can bring private banking into India, and this is something that we are currently working on, and we are going to launch in 2023,” Siew Meng Tan, regional head of HSBC GPB, Asia Pacific, said in a media briefing on 14 March.

Tan highlighted that HSBC already has a wealth franchise in India, so the bank will leverage its existing presence to serve the higher wealth segment.

“We want to make sure that we have great clarity before we go in there […] Given our presence in India, we want to be there early and we want to build from the team that we have got there in both retail and wealth, so we are basically just extending the continuum and we are not starting from zero,” Tan asserted.

She also pointed out that the bank already has a range of different products for its wealth clients and is now looking at how it can expand the product range to serve the higher wealth segment of clients in India.

Tan’s plan for the India onshore presence will start by moving the existing team that is serving the top-tier high net worth clients into the GPB team.

“How fast are we going to grow? It really depends on how successful we are going to be, and then from there, it will determine our pace,” she said. “When we get the right formula, and as we are building, we will be planning the right method of how we can scale up.”

Challenging market

Although India has a large population of potential wealth clients, it is a challenging market for private banks. HSBC GPB previously exited the India onshore private banking market in 2015 due to the bank’s decision to “further progress in the HSBC group strategy to simplify [the] business and deliver sustainable growth.”

HSBC is not the first private bank that opted out of the India onshore market. BNP Paribas Wealth Management also shuttered its onshore India presence in 2020.

Tan explained that while some banks have failed to make inroads in onshore India, some are still there. They include Credit Suisse, Barclays, LGT and Julius Baer.

“For us, because we already have a business there, and we also have a big coverage and network in India, so we just want to make sure that we are there to reap the benefits. When it takes off, it cannot be too late, it’s a question of investing and investment that has been put in there,” said Tan.

Mainland China expansion

In mainland China, Tan said the bank is looking at how it can expand its presence. Since entering China in 2021, the bank has built representative offices in six cities.

Jackie Mau,HSBC

Tan said that when the bank sent Jackie Mau, head of GPB for mainland China, to Shanghai to build-out HSBC’s onshore business in 3Q21, the team comprised about only 20 people. Today the bank has over 150 people.

In terms of further expansion in mainland China this year, Tan said: “We want to look at how we are doing the conversion, and then we will launch into the next phase”.

“We already have other cities that we have lined up, in terms of expanding into, but we also want to make sure that this year, we can see our strategy working,” she noted, explaining that HSBC has a large franchise in China, in retail and corporate banking, with a presence in over 50 cities.

“It’s just a question of timing that we are going to expand to more cities, because we are able to do it very quickly.”

Have a confidential tip? Get in touch [email protected]

Related Tags