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February 1, 2021

HSBC launches new private banking business in Thailand

By Amala Johney

HSBC is reportedly setting up a new private banking business in Thailand to boost its presence in the South-east Asian wealth management space.

The new unit is said to be the second onshore business of the British banking major, after Singapore.

It will enable customers to access international capital markets using HSBC’s existing network of advisory, investment methodologies, controls and systems in Asia.

Led by Saranya Arunsilp, the onshore team in Thailand will provide client management and advisory services.

The unit will book client assets in HSBC’s private banking unit in Singapore, which is considered to be a wealth management hub for South-east Asian HNWIs.

HSBC head of global private banking for Asia-Pacific Tan Meng said: “Our new private bank in Thailand opens up material opportunities for us to serve the fast-growing and increasingly sophisticated private wealth and business needs of new and existing clients in the country.”

Meng also added that the bank’s connectivity is crucial for its growth in the ASEAN, which is pivotal for its ambitious plans in the Asian wealth management segment.

Commenting on the development, HSBC head of global private banking for South-east Asia Philip Kunz said: “In Thailand and across ASEAN, private wealth is often created and built through business growth and expansion. As intra-regional trade and activity rebound, we expect commercial, people and wealth flows to increase.”

International banks with a global presence and a full spectrum of capabilities to cater to the fast-changing needs of HNW customers both onshore and offshore will have a competitive edge, Kunz added.

HSBC’s ambitious plans in Asia

In May 2020, a report revealed that HSBC expects to register a double-digit asset growth in its wealth business in the Asia Pacific over the next three years.

Last year, HSBC also combined its retail banking, wealth management, and global private banking units.

The combined unit is said to manage assets worth around $1.3trn globally, of which nearly half is in Asia.

Meanwhile, assets held by HNW investors in the South-east Asian region are expected to reach $40trn by 2025, more than double compared to 2017, reported The Business Times.

The assets of HNW investors in Thailand are anticipated to increase by 12.4% to $548bn by 2025, representing the second-highest growth in Asia-Pacific, the report added.

Recent moves in the region

Last month, HSBC announced three senior hires to the investment unit within Wealth and Personal Banking, including the appointment of global CIO William Sels.

The same month, the bank set up a fintech subsidiary in Shanghai to scale up its business in mainland China.

In August last year, it was reported that HSBC is looking to hire 2,000 to 3,000 wealth planners in China over four years amid escalating tensions between China and the West.

Last July, the banking group said it is considering new investments in wealth management and insurance in mainland China.

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