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HSBC PB uses innovative “Mind Matters” campaign to draw NGOs and clients together

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HSBC Private Banking has initiated a campaign called Mind Matters – A Hackathon for Social Impact that can help UHNWIs and HNWIs clients find matching NGOs for their philanthropy portfolio.

Cynthia Lee, regional head of private wealth solutions in Asia-Pacific at the bank told Asian Private Banker that the project aims to raise awareness about mental health in the community, and HSBC’s relationship with Asian Charity Services has helped the bank to draw NGOs and clients together.

“Through this project, we encourage NGOs to integrate mental well-being in their proposals, in particular, to address the needs of the underprivileged or under-represented populations,” she said.

Three key differentiators
Compared to philanthropy campaigns initiated earlier by HSBC, Mind Matters – A Hackathon for Social Impact has been the first to use the hackathon format, Lee pointed out.

“Normally there’s no mechanism involved when investors look to invest in start-up companies, so it is the first time we have engineered philanthropy using a hackathon format,” she said. “We are excited about this because the format is fun and innovative.”

She explained that over the past few months, in a bid to help the non-profit sector adapt to the COVID-19 world, the bank has been talking to over 120 NGOs in town. The NGOs were asked to submit mental well-being project ideas that focus on early intervention with young people to develop resilience and life skills; or help the most affected populations which experience mental health challenges; or raise awareness and make care accessible to vulnerable groups.

Of the 120 NGOs, 76 responded with their projects. Based on the quality and the content of the projects and proposals, HSBC selected 12 for the hackathon session on 22 August and the final pitch day in September.

“The top three projects are voted by the private banking clients and assessed by a panel of judges,” she added.

A two-year grant of an amount ranging from HK$1,000,000 to HK$4,000,000 per project is to be awarded to at least three charitable organisations. The final grant amount will be determined based on the size and scope of the project.

This is the first time that the bank’s marketing team has conducted everything in a virtual way, involving hundreds of people, she said. “There was quite a lot of coordination and technology set-up requirements and support involved, but essentially, we were able to put up a physical hackathon virtually.”

From a due diligence perspective, most clients have family offices or even have their own private foundations, and thus they have great resources to be able to do philanthropy themselves, Lee explained. However, a private bank should offer more than just a platform.

“This time, as a private bank, we not only served as a platform but also did all the groundwork and due diligence work for them, making it a lot easier for clients,” she pointed out.

During the due diligence process, there were three areas that the bank tended to focus on, she explained. First, relevance — the project needs to have something to do with mental health. Second, innovation. Third, real impact on the targeted society and groups.

Focus on next-gen wealth planning
Lee highlighted that the emergence of a successive group of decision-makers, or next-generation clients will be the bank’s focus of its whole wealth planning business in Asia,

“The transition between the generations is of vital importance because it will have an impact on the business operations and the way of conducting affairs with the private bank,” she said. “Some next-generation will even have a different look into their family office set up and have a different view in terms of charity.”

In addition, from the investment’s perspective, the topics around impact investing, sustainability, and ESG are becoming trendier, as such topics resonate more with the younger generations than the older ones.

“We need to focus on how we continue to be relevant as an advisor in these areas, Lee remarked. “We want to continue to bring intellectual power, and to connect and communicate better.”

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