How HSBC regained its mantle as Asia’s best bank
Despite its roots in the region, HSBC’s Asian woes have sometimes seemed endemic. It has been overly dependent on Hong Kong and too often caught in Sino-US crosshairs. But under regional co-CEOs Surendra Rosha and David Liao, the lender has regained its confidence, is more regionally diverse than ever, and is busy posting record profits.
Surendra Rosha and David Liao stride into the meeting room on the 43rd floor of HSBC’s Hong Kong head office and offer firm handshakes.
The room was recently renovated – it smells slightly clinical, like a new car. And with its circular windows and maritime furnishings, it resembles – rather aptly given the prevailing view over Hong Kong’s bustling harbour – the bridge on an ocean liner. Fizzy water is served in tall glasses, pleasantries are exchanged, seats are taken.
Both men have had the same title since June 2021: co-chief executives of HSBC Asia Pacific. They succeeded the much-respected Peter Wong, who moved upstairs to the role of non-executive chairman of Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, the global lender’s Asia-Pacific subsidiary.
Together, the pair are charged with overseeing the bank’s regional operations, a role – dual-role in this case – as vital as any other at the London- and Hong Kong-listed lender. Indeed, it is not a stretch to assume the person best placed to succeed global chief executive Noel Quinn in the fullness of time is sitting in this room.
Both men are in good spirits. Two days earlier, they attended Euromoney’s Awards for Excellence ceremony, held nearby at the Conrad Hotel in Pacific Place, where HSBC picked up the award for Asia’s best bank.