HSBC has ambitious growth plans for Asia, as it looks to serve the rising number of wealthy individuals in the region. The Group plans to add 1,300 positions by 2022, more than 600 of which will be in retail banking and wealth management.
Bonnie Qiu, Group Head of Premier and Jade at HSBC, explains that private wealth in Asia is growing much faster than in other regions, particularly in countries such as China, where the rising middle class is still in the wealth creation stage. “We have statistics that show Asia’s private wealth is going to overtake North America by 2021. When we look at the landscape and the market, it tells us that the opportunity is there to actually grow the wealth business for Asia,” she says.
To meet the needs of this segment, HSBC has launched a new banking proposition called Jade. Qiu explains that Jade is designed to service customers who sit in the pre-private bank segment with assets of between US$1 million to US$5 million. “Jade is the new proposition for those who have more complex needs than Premier customers, but do not yet need private banking. It is a segment that is underserviced by most other financial institutions,” she says.
To help serve these customers’ needs, HSBC is recruiting into their client facing and investment focused teams across mainland China, Hong Kong and Singapore. “We are looking for Jade Directors, who will be our most senior relationship managers within the retail banking wealth management environment to look after these Jade clients. We will also have Jade Business Development Directors. They will be a new team we are looking to set up to go outbound and acquire customers, as Jade customers are very busy and may not be available to come to the bank,” She adds that talent interested in relationship manager roles will need to have experience in customer-centric roles, as well as good people skills, while they must be very good at active listening to gain an in depth understanding of the needs of the customer.
As well as recruiting externally, HSBC will also fill some of the new positions through internal promotions, as the Group prides itself on having a robust programme to grow its own talent.“In terms of personal development, HSBC gives a lot to groom our people, develop and actually retain them,” she says. When employees are first hired, they go through a full onboarding process. Qiu explains that for the new Jade positions, her team has been working with their learning and development colleagues to create a bespoke Wealth Academy to enable them to excel in their new position.
But the training and learning opportunities do not end there. “We have an HSBC University that offers a lot of learning curricula. It is a mixture of classroom and online learning and on the job coaching,” She adds that the courses are tailored to enable talents to upscale their skills. For wealth planners this would include areas such as legacy planning or working with HSBC’s insurance teams to understand and be able to explain complex insurance policies to our Jade customers.
HSBC also supports its staff in obtaining country or global accreditations, such as becoming a Certified Financial Planner in Hong Kong. “When I was a Premier Relationship Manager in the UK, the bank sponsored me to get a degree in financial services, as my professional additional degree, and to become an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers.
“This is an area where HSBC is excellent. They give us study days and exam days. It is part of the benefits package.”
Qiu has been with HSBC for almost 18 years, after being recruited to its Graduate Trainee programme in the UK. “The bank has been very supportive about my growth,” she says.
She is particularly grateful for the opportunities she was given to work outside of her home market after joining the International Management Programme. She says Jade Relationship Managers will be offered similar opportunities to work in different markets in Asia.
Qiu thinks there are other benefits to working at HSBC too. “As a global bank, we are actually taking a lot of best practices around work from different geographies and implementing them quite broadly across Asia.” These include policies around flexible working and remote working. “We have learnt that if we give colleagues a bit more flexibility around their hours they give so much more back to the organisation and the customers”.
HSBC also places a strong emphasis on diversity and inclusion. Qiu sits on HSBC’s Asia Pacific Balance Committee, an employee resources group that focuses on gender diversity in the organisation. HSBC also recently took part in an LGBT Plus Out Leadership conference.
“HSBC believes that diversity is of the upmost importance. We fundamentally believe that bringing more diverse candidates into the organisation will allow us to better understand the diverse needs of our customers,” she says.
Qiu thinks HSBC’s current expansion represents a good opportunity to people interested in joining the bank. “The package is excellent, with rewards for Jade directors on a par, if not better, than for those who are managing portfolios at some of the more mass-end private banks, and the development plans are really spectacular,” she says.