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HSBC: Treading carefully

Every bank has had to balance Covid and geopolitics in 2020, but few have had it harder than HSBC

Greg Hingston_960.jpg
Greg Hingston, HSBC regional head of wealth and personal banking for Asia Pacific

HSBC has had a difficult 2020 navigating the challenges of Covid-19 and geopolitics.

Caught between the radically different interests of the US and China, and in an impossible situation in the fraught, pick-your-side environment of Hong Kong, it has had to tread exceptionally carefully.

Faced with this backdrop, the bank has recovered somewhat from the executive churn that characterized 2019 and has at least come up with a plan.

The new three-year restructuring strategy chief executive Noel Quinn announced in February doesn’t sound particularly visionary – slash risk-weighted assets (RWAs), focus more on Asia, invest in technology and get more out of wealth – but visionary isn’t what’s needed for this bank at this point, so much as common sense and stability.


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