☰ Menu eFinancialCareers

Is HSBC the new Goldman Sachs?

Before anyone complains that HSBC pays atrocious bonuses, serves coffee in plastic cups, is trying to raise a record 12.5bn in additional capital and has seen its stock plunge 20% in a single day, it’s worth re-examining some facts.

Not only did HSBC pay between 11.7m and 11.8m to what appear to be two ‘star traders,’ its global banking and markets division also pulled in a profit last year.

Admittedly, profit for the division was down 43% on 2007, but this was better than Goldman which saw an 82% drop over the same period. It was also a lot, lot, better than Deutsche, UBS, RBS, JPMorgan, Credit Suisse, and almost any other bank you care to name, most of which made a loss in their investment banking businesses in 2008.

And while investment banking and markets divisions at most houses are being vilified for bleeding the gains made by old fashioned banking operations, global banking and markets at HSBC is becoming more important as a profit centre – it generated 37% of net income in 2008, compared to 25% in 2007.

HSBC attributed its success to record revenues in FX, rates, balance sheet management, financing, and equity capital markets. And like various other houses, it said performance this year had been ‘ahead of expectations.’

All of this might suggest that if you’re in global banking and markets, HSBC is suddenly the place to work.

However, to get ahead at HSBC, you’ll probably need to be based in Asia Pac, excluding Hong Kong, where GBM profits rose 54% last year. By comparison, North America was heavily in the red and European profitability plunged more than 90%.

Comments (13)

  1. Hahaha!! Almost fell off my seat there.. Cheers for the Monday humour, really needed that

  2. Those numbers sound right, art of flying/dying.

  3. So, wait a moment, how does the title of the article relates to its content again?

  4. CDO Hero: This has now been spelt out in the penultimate paragraph, which reads –

    All of this might suggest that if you’re in global banking and markets, HSBC is suddenly the place to work.

    The implication is –

    All of this might suggest that if you’re in global banking and markets, HSBC is suddenly the place to work [in much the same way that Goldman Sachs has been historically].

    Let me know if you need further clarification.

    Sarah, Editor, eFinancialCareers Reply
  5. The new GS…Don’t think so. The culture and atmosphere at GS is what makes it such a unique place.

  6. &&&&& How we laughed &&& thanks, Sarah, on such a depressing Monday.

  7. For all these reasons actually HSBC is not the right place to work. Imagine that if the average guy on the HSBC trading floor got peanuts in a good year, what would he get if it were a poor year! Actually on second thoughts, it wont be that bad, coz he will get one less peanut..not too much to lose there

    higherupatHSBC Reply
  8. The answer to the title is in the article itself : NO.
    First of all, the bonuses paid as the related news specified, were guaranteed bonuses so not performance-related by contrast to GS for example. And it was those two people were not traders as Sarah suggested but IBD seniors. Second of all, even if HSBC posted a smaller fall in profit than GS, JPM or MS, they are stll underdogs compared to them…And they are not known to pay well…. like the others.
    Overall, I have to say I am used to a better work from efinancial.

  9. HSBC is the fairest, most competitive bank on the street with the highest calibre people.

  10. ROTFL,


  11. Curious isn’t it how many of these comments ooze prideful GS people defending their firm -how the mighty have fallen.

    Recruiter in IB Reply
  12. Fairness, transparency and common sense should be acknowledged and respected particularly when everyone else was indulging in irrational exuberance… You reap what you sow and GS et al are nothing more than a Lehmans .. their model belongs in the past

    Chelseatracktor Reply
  13. HSBC’s internal motto is ‘we are the only bank in town’. They treat their customers just as poorly as their staff and if you dont like it where else are you going to go. Cant wait for the mass exodus to happen after the credit crunch.

    paidwithHSBCpeanuts Reply

The comment is under moderation. It will appear shortly.


Screen Name


Consult our community guidelines here