EM Achievement awards are not designed to trumpet those
banks with a full-service, pan-regional franchise. HSBCs
balance sheet strength, its 19th-century roots in Asia and its
unparalleled global presence are now almost unremarkable facts
of global finance. But HSBC is chosen for particular praise
because of its aggressive plan to re-attach itself firmly to
Asias growth engine.
Outgoing CEO Michael Geoghegans praise for China at
every conceivable opportunity makes him a forgivable
self-parody of an Asia bull. But this year, he has
matched rhetoric with action. Geoghegan moved to Hong Kong last
February, along with senior executives a move, as
outgoing chairman Stephen Green put it, thats both
symbolic and practical.
HSBC is positioning Asia at the forefront of its global
business and bids to intermediate capital and trading flows
between emerging regions, a strategy unlikely to change under
incoming chief executive Stuart Gulliver. HSBC announced in
July that it will buy the Indian retail and commercial
businesses of Royal Bank of Scotland and will pay a premium of
as much as $95 million over the tangible net asset value of the
businesses when the deal closes in the first half of next year.
The acquisition gives HSBC an extra 1.1 million customers in
emerging Asias second-largest economy.
HSBC is banking on turbo-charged emerging economies to
contribute 60% of the groups top-line revenues in the
coming years, with aggressive hiring sprees in its retail,
corporate and investment arms. Its growing Asian presence also
provides the bank with leverage to threaten western regulators
with a move to the east if moves to break up global banking
groups ever see the light of day.