Malaysia's best international bank 2020: HSBC
HSBC’s response to the coronavirus in Malaysia deserves plaudits. The bank, run by Malaysia chief executive Stuart Milne, was the first in the country to announce that both the interest for conventional loans as well as profit on Islamic financing would not be compounded during the moratorium period.
Any international investor tapping Malaysian growth or domestic companies looking to go global over the last year probably has an HSBC experience to recount.
Milne’s bank plays a key role in a who’s-who of companies and financiers bringing deals to market. They include southeast Asia’s biggest-ever US dollar bond transaction by Petronas Capital Limited in April. HSBC helped place the $6 billion sale of 10-year, 30-year and 40-year tranches. The deal was 6.2 times oversubscribed, despite the backdrop of a global trade war, Covid-19 fallout, chaos in oil prices and political turmoil in the city of Putrajaya stymieing national competitiveness.
In May 2020, HSBC did some serious multi-tasking on Leader Energy’s inaugural project financing using Asean Green Sustainable Responsible Investment sukuk instruments: the bank was sole principal adviser, green structuring adviser, Shariah adviser, lead arranger and lead manager.
HSBC led Maybank’s successful issuance of Rmb2 billion ($290 million) Belt and Road Panda bonds. It also led numerous public and private placement transactions for Maybank, CIMB Bank and mortgage service outfit Cagamas in dollars, renminbi and ringgit. That meant offering Malaysian financial institutions access to global investors on a private basis.
HSBC executed Malaysia’s first-ever live pilot blockchain letter-of-credit transaction. HSBC and Payments Network Malaysia, or PayNet, enabled both DuitNow QR, the nation’s unified QR code, and contactless payments for hospitals under KPJ Healthcare. HSBC and auto-maker Proton announced accelerated payments to Proton suppliers through HSBC’s digital supply-chain finance programme.
At the same time, Milne says, the “Covid-19 crisis is a turning point for the sustainability agenda as well.”
The pandemic has shown that rapid change is both possible – and pivotal – for recovery, and an opportunity for companies to embed resilient and responsible practices into their strategic plans.
HSBC’s own strategy of being at any table in Malaysia where international finance is being discussed still reaps dividends.