2023 marked a defining year for HSBC’s retail wealth business, according to Jenny Wang, whose team shapes the wealth product proposition and strategies, plus oversees branding for HSBC Premier, catering to mass affluent customers and the broader mass market segment.
Describing the year, Wang emphasised it as a “stellar year for execution and results”, without disclosing specific figures. “What I can say is they are strong – and not just those limited to financial metrics.”
“Our customer metrics are equally outstanding, including those tracking new-to-wealth customer onboarding, customer satisfaction, and the deepening of customer relationships,” the global and Asia head of personal banking and premier wealth solutions, told Asian Private Banker.
HSBC also tracked the number of wealth products held per customer and found that it is increasing on a year-on-year basis, as is the level of diversification in client portfolios in both customer segments.
According to Wang, this can be attributed to a strategic focus on investment content: “What I want to call out for 2023 is that we really focused on investment content. This involves two parts. One is related to content driven by our CIO views. The second is about product shelf enhancement.”
Wang also heads the bank’s financial planning function, as well as its insurance proposition across the customer continuum, which includes global private banking. Additionally, she leads the digital acceleration programme and deployment of capabilities across product platforms and digital for retail wealth.
“Structured product revenue grew year-on-year by strong double-digit percentages in Hong Kong and Singapore.”
Providing a single CIO view for retail wealth and global private banking clients, HSBC has enriched its local investment content by setting up local CIO teams, including in mainland China, India, and Mexico.
“These not only benefit local customers, for example, those in India, but also customers outside of the market who are keen to invest in India,” Wang said. “Besides the quality of the content, we also focused on the dissemination of the content – meaning how we reach relevant clients and how to create impact.”
Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, HSBC determines a customer’s preferred channel to receive content, topics and frequency of communication. In India, for example, it found that digital channels are the preferred means for customers to receive insights whereas in Western markets and even Singapore, traditional email is preferred.
And in the UK, HSBC’s customer mobile adoption rate has improved quite significantly, although the content focus is more thought leadership and educational rather than market news, Wang pointed out.
“Customers in Asia, we find, tend to be eager to receive insights on the latest market news and movements. We see these differences extend into needs as well.
“For example, UK customers are relatively more focused on issues such as retirement and financial planning, while our customers in Asia tend to focus more on managing and growing wealth,” she added.
In terms of products, in 2023, HSBC enriched its structured products shelf for retail wealth clients in Singapore and Hong Kong by introducing more issuers, payoffs and underlyings.
For example, in Singapore, the bank expanded its offering from equity-only by introducing FX and rates-linked structured products, which accounted for a significant portion of the business in the first nine months of 2023, Wang shared.
“In Hong Kong, we also introduced new issuers structured products. In fact, structured product revenue grew year-on-year by strong double-digit percentages in Hong Kong and Singapore,” the wealth solutions heads continued.
“In Indonesia, we deployed different systems such as bond-on-mobile, which have help drive Indonesia to become HSBC’s second-largest retail wealth bond market after Hong Kong.”
“We also focused on our platform investment and process refinement – essentially the turnover time for launching a product. For example, the enhancements we made to our backend infrastructure in Hong Kong shortened our time-to-market for structured products from four months to just three weeks. This was an important deployment for us in 2023.”
In the bonds business, Wang added that HSBC further expanded the number of issuers it has on the shelves in mature markets such as Hong Kong and Singapore.
In emerging markets like Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan, HSBC focused on how to launch products quickly in these markets. “In Indonesia, for example, we deployed different systems such as ‘bond-on-mobile’, which have helped drive Indonesia to become HSBC’s second-largest retail wealth bond market after Hong Kong,” Wang said.
“In Taiwan, we introduced open architecture with more issuers for bonds and structured products, while in Malaysia, we have rolled out wealth lending.”
On the digital front, HSBC has almost completed the deployment of its ‘Wealth Trilogy’ across all 14 key wealth markets to provide end-to-end digital support to their customers.
This ranges from digital investment account opening to digital financial planning and digital trading capabilities, including equities, mutual funds and bonds, and its wealth dashboard which provides customers with an overview of their portfolio holdings.
“So, all these tools have been deployed in most wealth markets in Asia. In 2024, we will continue the journey in the Western markets. Wherever possible, we use a ‘lift and shift’ approach to roll out new features and capabilities in a scalable manner across markets, which is the most efficient way,” Wang concluded.