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HSBC has high hopes for its business here

This article is more than 12 months old

Bank spent more than $1.4 billion on global digital investment since 2015

British bank HSBC is now "back in growth mode" in Singapore after investing heavily in turning around revenue and profitability, said a top executive.

Despite a fiercely competitive retail market, the bank has high hopes for its business here, said Mr Anurag Mathur, head of retail banking and wealth management at HSBC (Singapore), who has been in the role for a year.

He told The Straits Times recently: "Customers are also sophisticated (here) but that's good, as it encourages innovation and we're often at the cutting edge in Singapore, where some of the things piloted here - and hopefully, increasingly developed here - can then be exported elsewhere in HSBC globally."

The bank has "spent quite a bit of time and investment in incorporating the company here", said Mr Mathur, referring to its move last year to set up a local subsidiary for the retail and wealth business.


"As part of that, we've also upgraded our core banking platforms and infrastructure, such as upgrading branches and opening new ones in the last few years, and improving our products and digital capabilities."

While Mr Mathur was unable to give specific numbers, recent data from the bank showed it has spent more than US$1 billion (S$1.4 billion) on its global digital investment since 2015.

HSBC has 11 branches and about 1,000 employees under the retail banking and wealth management business here.

Competition is particularly high here now, as evident from moves by financial institutions here like DBS Bank, which acquired ANZ's retail banking and wealth management business in five markets in Asia last October.

Customers of HSBC's retail banking and wealth management unit are typically those with a minimum of $200,000 with the bank, be it in deposits, or investments, among other things - and that is where growth is for the bank too, said Mr Mathur.

"In that space, we see Singapore continuing to be a growth hub. Wealth management is a key area of growth, the macro conditions are there.

"Singaporeans obviously invest here, but people from around the world, particularly Asia, also like to invest here."