HSBC: The art of bigging it up
When a ‘major deal’ is more misnomer than mind-blowing.
Who doesn’t love a nice splashy headline, whether it’s an IPO that storms the market, or a print that makes a bond trader’s pulse race faster?
It’s why so many people still fork out a tenner to buy the latest Guinness World Records, despite it being little more than a glossy doorstop.
People like excess and eye-candy. Big-and-frothy works whether you want to impress investors, attract customers or compel people to visit your city.
Tourism boards will pretty much do whatever it takes to drum up business: Hong Kong still beseeches all-comers to see the Tian Tan or ‘Big Buddha’ on Lantau Island, once the largest, sadly now the second largest, outdoor bronze seated Buddha in the world.
But if it’s tenuous in the financial realm you want, look no further than a little item hiding away in plain sight on page 34 of HSBC’s latest annual report. Next to a photo of a young chap smiling intensely at a customer sits the proud headline: ‘Landmark deal for HSBC Qianhai Securities’.
What could it be? Something damned impressive, surely.