Best International Bank for the Greater Bay Area 2023
One of HSBC’s many strengths is its ability to offer its corporate and individual customers a full suite of banking and financing solutions.
That is certainly true of its business in the Greater Bay Area. HSBC recognized the strategic importance of expanding in this region early on, investing time and resources to bolster its range of offerings. It is Asiamoney’s best international bank in the GBA for 2023.
One reason for HSBC’s success, was its support for customers who wanted to expand across the GBA and internationally, despite the tight restrictions on travel due to Covid. HSBC, led by head of Greater Bay Area Daniel Chan, offered digitally enabled cross-border solutions, including simplified onboarding and payments, an improved mobile app and blockchain-driven trade finance.
As a result, HSBC’s retail and wholesale banking business in the Pearl River Delta grew roughly 30% in 2022, while its roster of new small and medium-sized enterprise customers in the GBA soared 68%, year on year, despite the lockdowns.
HSBC’s reach on the Wealth Management Connect (WMC) is also noteworthy. The scheme, first launched in September 2021, allows investments in wealth management products through a closed-loop funds flow channel established by the banking systems of mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.
HSBC is among the leaders on the WMC. The bank says it was number one among international banks in terms of account opening and fund remittance, as of December 2022, based on information from the Shenzhen unit of the People’s Bank of China. HSBC offers several advantages, including an easier WMC onboarding process, access to more than 270 WMC products, and a new partnership with Ping An Bank in mainland China.
Thanks to the scale of its business, it can provide multinational corporations with access to onshore equity and debt investors.
Its capital markets and investment banking businesses remain unrivalled in the GBA. HSBC does everything: panda bonds, syndicated loans, asset-backed securities onshore and A-share IPOs, many of which are driven by sustainability.
HSBC has dedicated funds – one for technology, another for healthcare – that have supported the growth of a host of pre-profit firms in the region, especially those in the GBA’s new economy industries.
With the increase in size and sophistication of China’s wealth management industry over the past couple of years, HSBC’s private banking operation in the GBA has prospered. The bank has doubled its private banking workforce in the GBA. It expanded into Guangzhou in 2021, and into Shenzhen last year. It is also collaborating more with HSBC Qianhai Securities to cater to private-banking clients.
The firm’s secret weapon is its digital platform, Pinnacle. It had roughly 1,300 private wealth planners by the end of 2022, reaching Guangzhou and Shenzhen in 2021 and Foshan last year. The Pinnacle River app offers wealth planning and insurance solutions, as well as health solutions. The total number of app users hit one million last year.
Now the bank is looking for more licences from the Chinese regulators to ramp up its franchise. Next up could be approvals for margin financing as well as securities borrowing and lending in China.