HSBC completes Singapore transfer

Singapore’s economy is trying to adapt to a less benign international climate. Source: Pixabay

HSBC has completed the transfer of its retail banking and wealth management business in Singapore to a city-state incorporated subsidiary.

The HSBC (Singapore) subsidiary “holds a full bank licence in Singapore with qualifying full-bank privileges under chapter 19 of the Banking Act of Singapore”, the bank said.

The move follows the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s announcement in April last year that HSBC was considered one of seven domestic systemically important banks (D-SIBs).

With the transfer completed, the subsidiary would now oversee all retail banking and wealth management operations of the bank within the city-state, HSBC said.

“All other lines of business of HSBC in Singapore, including the commercial banking, global banking and markets and private banking businesses, will continue to operate within the existing HSBC Singapore branch,” the bank said in a statement.

The bank’s CEO for Singapore Guy Harvey-Samuel called the completed transfer a “significant milestone”.

“The move positively affirms HSBC’s long-term commitment to the market,” he explained. “Singapore remains a top-seven priority country for the HSBC Group globally and we will continue to invest in our business to further solidify our status as a leading market player here.”

The key management of the subsidiary would remain largely the same, including Harvey-Samuel as chief executive and Matthew Colebrook as the head of retail banking and wealth management, the bank said.

The announcement comes with the backdrop of further troubles for Singapore’s economy.

The republic’s overall property market is still floundering with the office, suburban residential and prime retail sectors the worst hit.

An NUS-Redas Real Estate Sentiment Index survey said 90.6 per cent of the respondents remarked that the biggest risk to the property market was the global economic slowdown.

Around 75 per cent also thought that rising inflation and interest rates would harm the market in the next six months.

Meanwhile, a glut of properties becoming available for the rest of the year will also put pressure on the market.

More than 60 per cent of the developers predicted a slight decrease in residential property prices in the next six months, while 32.8 per cent expected prices to remain stable.

The Current Sentiment and Future Sentiment indexes remained weak but the numbers increased from 3.6 and 3.4 in the third quarter of last year to 3.9 and 3.6 in the year’s final quarter respectively.

Only figures above five would indicate an improvement in conditions.