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Banking giant HSBC shakes up top team in ‘pivot to Asia’

Banking giant HSBC shakes up top team in ‘pivot to Asia’

HSBC has shaken up its top team ahead of a major strategy update today that will see it 'pivot to Asia'. The lender, which is slimming down its E

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HSBC has shaken up its top team ahead of a major strategy update today that will see it ‘pivot to Asia’. 

The lender, which is slimming down its European and US operations as it boosts its focus on China and other fast-growing economies in the region, said chief financial officer Ewen Stevenson will take on responsibility for the bank’s transformation and mergers and acquisitions. 

Stevenson, who joined HSBC from Royal Bank of Scotland in 2019, is a key lieutenant of chairman Mark Tucker and the move suggests there may be more deal-making on the horizon. 

New direction: HSBC is slimming down its European and US operations as it boosts its focus on China and other fast-growing economies in the region

New direction: HSBC is slimming down its European and US operations as it boosts its focus on China and other fast-growing economies in the region

New direction: HSBC is slimming down its European and US operations as it boosts its focus on China and other fast-growing economies in the region

HSBC also confirmed Nuno Matos as the head of wealth and personal banking, announced chief compliance officer Colin Bell would become chief executive of HSBC in Europe and the UK, and said its US boss Michael Roberts would take on extra responsibilities within the Americas region. HSBC, which is based in London but makes most of its money in the Far East, is expected to reveal further details of its ‘pivot to Asia’ plan today as it unveils its full-year results. 

It had already announced a cost-cutting drive last February, with plans to axe around 35,000 jobs over three years. 

But last month, chairman Tucker revealed that the coronavirus pandemic had piled on more pressure. Speaking at the Asia Financial Forum, he said: ‘Economic realities mean that what we were planning to do in February we need to be even more urgent in doing.’ 

Investors will be keen to know whether even deeper cuts are now on the cards – and whether HSBC will be resuming its dividend now the Bank of England’s ban on payouts has lifted. 

Matos, global banking and markets co-head Greg Guyett, and global commercial banking boss Barry O’Byrne will be relocating to Hong Kong, according to Bloomberg – meaning businesses responsible for 95 per cent of HSBC’s revenue in 2019 will be run out of the Asian hub. 

It comes as the lender faces increased scrutiny from MPs in the UK and US over its support of a controversial national security law imposed on Hong Kong by China, which has led to a clamp-down on prodemocracy protesters.

In an uncomfortable grilling by the Common’s foreign affairs committee last month, HSBC chief executive Noel Quinn was accused of ‘aiding and abetting one of the biggest crackdowns on democracy in the world’. 

As it shifts further away from the European market, HSBC also said it is planning to ramp up its business in the Middle East. Stephen Moss, who oversees Europe and the Middle East, will move to Dubai and focus exclusively on the region.

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This post first appeared on Dailymail.co.uk

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