HSBC’s chief executive Noel Quinn said it would expand its investment bank in the US, despite the UK lender unveiling plans to pull of out retail banking in the country.
Quinn said the US was an “important contributor to our growth plans” and that it would look to build out its wholesale banking unit, despite agreeing to sell parts of its retail business in the country two US regional banks, Citizens Financial Group’s Citizens Bank and Cathay General Bancorp’s Cathay Bank.
His comments came during HSBC’s annual general meeting on 28 May, with Quinn reiterating his earlier statement that US retail was a “good business, but we lacked the necessary scale to compete with domestic competitors”.
READ HSBC investment bank boss on Asia push: ‘We’re not deprioritising the UK’
While HSBC does not compete with some of its larger rivals in investment banking on Wall Street, it is seeking to increase the size of its leveraged finance team under Ray Doody, as well as take advantage of some its strong commercial banking relationships in the country, executives told Financial News previously.
In October, HSBC hired Citigroup veteran Gerry Keefe to lead its global banking business in the Americas and is expected to name more senior recruits in the coming months.
Under the new strategy outlined by Quinn in February 2020, HSBC is making deep cuts to its business that will see around 35,000 jobs lost across the bank. It is also pivoting to its core markets in Asia, building out investment banking and wealth management in the region, where it will invest $6bn over the next five years.
Within its investment bank, HSBC is prioritising core regions in the UK, Asia and Middle East and using key hubs including the US to allow clients to access emerging markets, its co-head of global banking and markets, Greg Guyett, told FN in May.
READ HSBC plans exit from US retail market
Despite the broader cuts, Guyett said the bank was looking to hire senior dealmakers.
“We need to keep adding bankers that have access to the C-suite,” he said. “We need bankers that can be strategic advisers to chairmen and CEOs. We have some great bankers, but not enough to cover all those clients from an investment banking perspective, so we’re definitely adding.”
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