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Monday, December 09, 2019, 18:26
HSBC investment banking chief to step down
By Bloomberg
Monday, December 09, 2019, 18:26 By Bloomberg

This May 4, 2017 photo shows a tram passing by the HSBC banking headquarters in Hong Kong. (DALE DE LA REY / AFP)

HSBC Holdings Plc interim Chief Executive Officer Noel Quinn’s sweeping management changes will see the lender’s operating chief depart while its top investment banker is reassigned to another role.

Andy Maguire will retire in January after five years as COO, replaced by John Hinshaw, a former executive at Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co, HSBC said in a statement Monday. Among other senior changes, Chief Risk Officer Marc Moses will hand over his responsibilities to Pam Kaur, who currently heads wholesale market and credit risk.

In their respective successors we have talented and capable individuals that I’m looking forward to working closely with as we execute plans for the next phase of the bank

Noel Quinn, Interim Chief Executive Officer, HSBC Holdings Plc

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Samir Assaf will be replaced in March as head of the global banking and markets division by two co-heads, Gregory Guyett and Georges Elhedery, as Bloomberg News reported last week. Assaf, who had led the investment bank for almost a decade, becomes chairman of corporate and institutional banking.

Quinn’s own future is uncertain: he has made a bid to get the top job on a permanent basis and is considered a front-runner. He’s working on a restructuring that’s expected to close parts of the business and sell operations including the French retail unit, and details of the overhaul will be announced along with HSBC’s full-year results in February.

“The musical chairs look set to continue, and we look forward to hearing the refreshed strategy in detail on 18th February with, potentially, news on the identity of the new permanent CEO,” said John Cronin, an analyst at Goodbody. “Asian experience will be a critical factor.”

The departures follow the August ouster of former CEO John Flint, pushed out as Chairman Mark Tucker said the bank needed a change of leadership to cope with an increasingly complex business environment.

“In their respective successors we have talented and capable individuals that I’m looking forward to working closely with as we execute plans for the next phase of the bank,” Quinn said in the statement.

Asia Focus

A fresh strategy could see HSBC focus more resources on Asia, where it reckons it can make a better return. Tucker recently told employees that more than 30% of the bank’s capital was generating returns of less than 1%, according to a briefing note previously reported by Bloomberg. The bank may partially exit stock trading in some developed Western markets, and will attempt to sell its French retail bank, a move that could remove as many as 8,000 staff from the payroll, people familiar with the matter have said.

READ MORE: HSBC, StanChart cut Hong Kong prime rates

At the investment bank, Guyett is currently head of global banking, while Elhedery runs HSBC’s global markets business. The unit has gone through several years of mixed financial performance and conduct issues. Assaf’s division accounted for 28% of HSBC’s profit in 2018 -- although fixed-income trading revenue shrank from a year earlier, under-performing competitors including Barclays Plc.

Moses, the departing risk chief, had worked at HSBC since 2005. His departure had been in the works since before Flint’s, and Kaur has been preparing to replace him for several months, a person familiar with the matter said last week.

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