Seven years after HSBC abandoned private banking in India, the UK-based, Asia-focused lender plans to return to the subcontinent with a new package for high-net-worth individuals.
Currently, HSBC focuses on catering to wealthy Indians from its global hubs in Singapore, London and the Middle East.
But the London-headquartered bank is preparing to relaunch the business in India at a time when it is increasing its focus on Asia – the biggest region in terms of its profit generation – with China, Hong Kong, and India among its main markets.
HSBC exited private banking in India in 2015 as part of a group strategy. The lucrative but very competitive India market has few foreign players in a segment catering to high-net-worth individuals.
“We can see the amount of wealth creation in India and the growth in the number of millionaires … so an in-principle decision has been made to re-introduce private banking in India,” HSBC India chief executive Hitendra Dave said.
Nuno Matos, HSBC’s global CEO of wealth and personal banking, which includes private banking in India, said in November last year that the bank was exploring whether to re-enter.
The bank also aims to as much as quadruple its customer base in India in different business segments over the next three to five years, Dave said, taking advantage of some foreign rivals shrinking their business and growing wealth in the country.
HSBC India’s profit before tax rose 9% to $1.11 billion in 2021 from $1.02 billion in 2020 led by a 42% growth in income from its commercial banking business, which includes medium-sized and small enterprises.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell