HSBC Hong Kong has poached a Greater China head from Credit Suisse

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HSBC has made a senior new Hong Kong appointment in its ongoing recruitment drive in private banking. Christine Wong joined HSBC earlier this month from Credit Suisse as a managing director and Greater China head of private wealth solutions. She had been with the Swiss firm since April 2017 at director level and previously spent just over a year at Edmond de Rothschild. HSBC declined to comment today.

Wong’s move follows an Asian leadership reshuffle in private wealth solutions (PWS), which provides trust and fiduciary services. In late September, HSBC Private Banking appointed Cynthia Lee, who joined in January from JP Morgan, into the expanded role of head of PWS for Asia Pacific. Meanwhile, 23-year Citi veteran Steven Weekes became head of PWS for Southeast Asia.

Headhunters told us at the time that Lee and Weekes would be starting a recruitment drive, and Wong’s move appears to be part of these plans. HSBC is aiming to “significantly expand” its Asian private banking business over the next five years, including in PWS, according to a September statement from the bank. This involves hiring “top quality talent from the market”.

HSBC announced in September last year that it’s adding about 650 new staff – including front-office relationship managers and investment counsellors – to its Asian private bank, with most of the new recruits based in Hong Kong and Singapore.

HSBC has made several senior hires in Asian private banking this year, and the unit appears to be protected from the thousands of job cuts it is making globally. As we were the first to report in September, Hong Kong-based Lina Lim joined from JP Morgan as a managing director and regional head of discretionary for Asia Pacific. Around the same time, the firm also took on DBS’s Rocky Cheung as head of investment counseling for mainland China and Taiwan, and hired Simon Hwang, formerly of Citi, as investment counseling team head for mainland China.

Still, HSBC is recruiting just as several other private banks, including larger players such as UBS and Credit Suisse, are also expanding their front offices. “HSBC's AUM in Asia has remained more or less flat over the past few years, so it’s playing catch-up with other banks,” says former HSBC and Merrill Lynch private banker Rahul Sen, now a global leader in private wealth management at search firm Boyden. Asian assets under management at HSBC stood at $124bn at the end of last year, and between 2014 and 2018 the compound annual growth rate of the bank’s Asian AUM was 2.4%, the lowest rate of all the top-10 private banks in Asia.

Image credit: samxmeg, Getty

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