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HSBC plans to ‘significantly’ grow LatAm private bank

HSBC plans to ‘significantly’ grow LatAm private bank

HSBC Private Bank is planning to make more hires and leverage off its global brand to ‘significantly’ grow in its target regions of Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico.

‘We’re really focused on growing these markets and growing them significantly,’ George Crosby, head of HSBC Private Bank International, told Citywire Americas. ‘We’re in the market to hire new senior bankers for these markets [...] we are also looking to invest in key talent within the team.’

Crosby said he is on the lookout for individuals that have the ability to be 'hunters’ that go out and develop business.

‘It’s critical we continue to grow the book and the best way we can do that is to bring in new target market clients and it’s really important to find people that enjoy that, are good at it and have deep connections in those markets,’ he said.

In early September, the firm announced it would no longer service Latin Americans from outside Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico. It transferred business from 13 countries, mainly from Central America and the Andean region, worth a total of $5.6 billion in client assets to UBS Wealth Management Americas. As part of the deal 20 of its private bankers were also offered roles at UBS.

The firm is now left with nearly half of its original assets under management and its US offshore frontline staff has dropped from roughly from 100 to 60, which includes 21 private bankers.

Scalable growth

Miami-based Crosby said the firm reviewed its business in the region and decided to focus on areas it believed it could develop scale and sustainability.

‘So the exercise we went through regarding Central America and the Andean pact was much more about restructuring and repositioning the business,’ said Crosby.

‘The focus is on the four core markets where we have a significant global presence. We have scale in the private bank in those markets that we wanted to further develop by really focusing on serving the personal wealth needs of HSBC’s corporate clients.’

The British bank has an investment banking and retail presence in its four Latin American focus countries and aims to leverage these units' local clients knowledge and have them collaborate with its private banking business as wealth in the region continues to grow.

‘The region has gone through ebbs and flows. Economically, Argentina is looking much stronger than a few years ago, Brazil has gone through its set of challenges but again seems to be rebounding.

‘There continues to be wealth creation throughout the region and there’s clearly an opportunity for a global player such as ourselves to significantly grow our business. Whether that’s being able to take business away from the comp or through organic growth, we’re going to be present and looking for opportunities to expand that business.’

Ample alternatives  

The firm has also taken a new approach to how it services clients. The private banker, or relationship manager, has the central relationship with the client but is backed by an investment counselor, wealth planner, credit and insurance experts as well as product specialists.

The firm will also ramp up its product platform, including expanding the availability of alternative investments with new offerings in private equity.

‘It’s a very competitive landscape out there and we want to ensure that we’re not only meeting the current needs of our clients but anticipating those needs going forward. This requires a lot of research, and investment and focus on driving the business forward.’ 

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