HSBC to Move Top Bankers to Hong Kong as Asia Focus Sharpens
The shift comes as the bank has been caught up in the geopolitical tension between China and the West
Global banking giant HSBC Holdings PLC will move four senior bankers from London to Hong Kong to boost its strategy of refocusing operations on Asia instead of Europe and North America.
The executives who will move later this year are Barry O'Byrne, head of global commercial banking; Greg Guyett, co-head of global banking and markets; Nuno Matos, head of wealth and personal banking, and Nicolas Moreau, head of global asset management, HSBC said in notes to staff.
"I want more of our global executive team to be located in key growth regions," HSBC chief executive Noel Quinn wrote in one of the notes.
HSBC, which was founded in Hong Kong in 1865, has been caught up in the geopolitical tension between China and the West over the weakening autonomy of the Asian port city from Beijing.
Some U.S. and British politicians have urged the bank to take a stance against China but Mr. Quinn has declined to do so, stating that he is a banker, not a politician.
Mr. Quinn assured colleagues in his note that HSBC will continue to be based in London and maintain a global presence.
"We remain fully committed to the U.K., both in terms of our domicile and our significant businesses and client base in the country," he wrote. "These moves have no impact on the location of our headquarters and the management and oversight of the group executive committee."
HSBC makes most of its profit in Hong Kong and mainland China.
Mr. Quinn said in February that he is considering selling the bank's unprofitable U.S. retail operations and plans to pour about $6 billion of investment into Asia in the next five years.
HSBC is in talks to sell its unprofitable French retail bank to New York-based private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP.
Georges Elhedery, co-head of global banking and markets alongside Mr. Guyett, will continue to be based in the U.K.
Mr. Matos's relocation to Hong Kong brings him closer to Trista Sun, the Chinese banker leading HSBC's Pinnacle venture that targets wealthy Chinese clients.
Mr. Matos said in February that Pinnacle was exceeding financial targets.