The former co-head of UK financial institutions investment banking at HSBC has left, and is getting a natural and bio-dynamic wine business off the ground.
Ben Leonard left HSBC at the end of last year. A former senior financial institutions group (FIG) banker at the bank, he’s co-founded Provenance Wines, a UK-based wholesaler of wines from Central Italy that are natural, organic or bio-dynamic.
Leonard started working at HSBC in 2008. In his most recent role, he was co-head of UK FIG banking at HSBC, but during his tenure he was also head of European insurance debt capital markets, co-head of the insurance solutions group and managing director in insurance coverage across Europe and the UK.
HSBC’s senior investment banking team have been targeted as the bank cuts 100 director and managing director roles globally. Since announcing the layoffs in late January, Ulrik Ross, its global head of public sector debt business and Luc Oram, a director in its public sector debt business have departed. Meanwhile, Nick Tranter, the bank’s former head of equity sales who left in September last year, has just moved to the buy-side.
Matthew Westerman, the former Goldman Sachs banker who took over as HSBC’s head of global banking in May 2016, has been shaking up the British bank’s formerly relaxed atmosphere.
Not only has Westerman introduced a new system that tracks exactly how HSBC’s senior bankers are using their time, but he’s also introduced a reportedly “much harsher” year-end review process that ensures only the big producers are rewarded. Previously, HSBC took a more egalitarian approach to pay.
Leonard is not the only senior investment banker to leave the industry to focus on the wine industry. Chris van Aeken, a managing director and chief executive officer of Morgan Stanley AG in Zurich, launched his own consultancy that focuses on investment advice and wine consultancy. Meanwhile, Matt Starr, who worked in emerging markets trading at J.P. Morgan, launched Wine Bourse, which is essentially a stock exchange for wine.
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