HSBC Aims to Be Leading Asia Wealth Manager in Five Years

HSBC Holdings Plc is targeting to become the number one wealth manager in Asia in “roughly five years” as Europe’s largest bank shifts capital to tap clients in the increasingly affluent region, according to HSBC Pinnacle Venture Chief Executive Officer Trista Sun.

“Household wealth in China has grown so rapidly, become the second largest globally,” Sun said in a Bloomberg Television interview on Monday. “And within it we see a middle class of about 340 million population, which we expect to grow to about 500 million by 2025.”

The London-based bank is pinning its future on Asia, and has outlined ambitious plans to expand in wealth management, particularly in China. It’s shifting billions of dollars to Asia and plans to hire more than 5,000 new wealth planners to grow its business over the next three to five years.

China will more than double the number of millionaires in the next five years and boost the size of the middle class by almost half, spurring consumption in the economy, according to HSBC.

‘Only Constant’

China’s onshore wealth market -- dominated by its lenders including China Merchants Bank -- comes with its challenges, including fierce competition, as international banks including Credit Suisse Group AG and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. make a push into the market. The latter is setting up a wealth management joint venture with Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd.

“The market is big enough for everybody,” said Sun. “The only constant in China market is speed and change, regulations are changing, customer needs are changing.”

HSBC has hired about 350 wealth planners so far and the bank is adopting a hybrid model that focuses on digital and people, according to Sun. In certain areas such as the Greater Bay Area, Sun sees greater potential, especially with the upcoming wealth link that will allow investments across the border with Hong Kong.

The bank has expanded its mobile personal wealth planning service to four cities in mainland China --Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Shanghai and Shenzhen.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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