HSBC to Name Two Investment Bank Co-Heads to Replace Assaf

(Bloomberg) -- HSBC Holdings Plc plans to name Gregory Guyett and Georges Elhedery to jointly run the investment bank as the lender overhauls its key businesses, people familiar with the matter said.

The bank will split the role of Samir Assaf, who is set to step down as head of the division called global banking and markets. Interim Chief Executive Officer Noel Quinn is reviewing the business and is likely to formally announce the appointments ahead of a strategic review in February, according to the people, who asked not to be identified as the details are private. A spokesman for HSBC declined to comment.

The Asia-focused lender has been examining all aspects of its operations after ousting its previous ceo earlier this year and reviewing its approach to expansion amid U.S.-China trade tensions and slowing economies. The bank may partially exit stock trading in some developed Western markets, and will attempt to sell its French retail bank, a move that could remove as many as 8,000 staff from the payroll, people familiar with the matter have said.

The global banking and markets unit, HSBC’s investment bank, has gone through several years of mixed financial performance and the conduct issues that have also plagued Wall Street rivals. Assaf’s division accounted for 28% of HSBC’s profit in 2018 -- although fixed-income trading revenue shrank from a year earlier, under-performing competitors including Barclays Plc.

Assaf, who has been head of GBM for almost a decade, will be moved to a non-executive role, people familiar with the matter have said. Guyett was hired by HSBC last year as head of global banking while Elhedery was named head of global markets in January, replacing Thibaut de Roux, who left the lender after a misconduct claim.

The appointments come as Quinn seeks to put his stamp on the company and keep the top job permanently. He replaced John Flint after his ouster in August.

Quinn’s restructuring -- HSBC’s third in a decade -- is likely to result in cuts to investment banking operations outside the bank’s core Asian markets. Continental Europe and North America are the main targets, Bloomberg News reported. Revenue at GBM fell 3% in the first half of the year.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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