HSBC reshuffles top executives ahead of strategic revamp

HSBC has reshuffled some of its top regional and divisional executives ahead of a strategic update on Tuesday, in which it will redouble its focus on Asia and further retreat from Europe and the US.

Nuno Matos has been named global head of HSBC’s wealth and personal banking business, and the lender’s chief compliance officer Colin Bell will move to take his place running its European operations, according to a statement on Monday.

Michael Roberts will become chief executive of the US and Americas, while Stephen Moss will move from London to Dubai to run the Middle East, north Africa and Turkey business, the bank said.

“Given our extensive heritage in the Middle East and its long-term growth potential, we are extending our strategic ambitions for the region,” said HSBC. Moss will remain the person responsible for its relationship with Saudi British Bank, in which it owns a minority stake.

The bank said it is expanding the responsibilities of chief financial officer Ewen Stevenson, who joined from Royal Bank of Scotland in 2019 as a top lieutenant of chairman Mark Tucker. From April he will also run the bank’s transformation programme and oversee its “mergers and acquisitions agenda”.

The reorganisation by Tucker and chief executive Noel Quinn comes ahead of a strategic update alongside the bank’s full-year results on Tuesday. The pair are expected to announce measures to accelerate its “pivot to Asia” by moving several senior executives from London to Hong Kong, leaving its US retail banking operation and preparing the ground for expansion in fast-growing markets such as China, Singapore and India.

The stakes are high for the latest overhaul. Investors are increasing pressure for more radical changes as the bank’s shares have underperformed peers. HSBC’s shares have plunged 43 per cent since Tucker took over as chairman in October 2017.

The bank — headquartered in London, but with the vast majority of its business in Hong Kong and mainland China — has also been caught in between rising geopolitical tensions between the west and Beijing. 

British MPs and US politicians have singled out HSBC for its endorsement of a controversial national security law Beijing imposed on Hong Kong and for closing the accounts of pro-democracy activists.

Analysts expect to see a sharp decline in fourth quarter and annual profits on Tuesday, because of global lockdowns and a drop in trade caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

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