Final Word 2019: Tan Siew Meng, HSBC Private Banking

Tan Siew Meng, regional head, Asia Pacific, HSBC Private Banking shares her views with Asian Private Banker in ‘The Final Word’, a year in review by the region’s private banking leaders as they share their thoughts and opinions on key issues around industry trends, business performance, investments, regulations, and technology.

Industry Trends | What is the single biggest challenge and the single biggest growth opportunity for your business today?

As we move into 2020, the wider geopolitical environment continues to be a challenge both for our clients and our business. It is our responsibility and privilege to help our clients navigate ongoing uncertainties. Our biggest opportunity continues to be on supporting the wealth needs of the HSBC group’s client base.

Business Performance | Productivity and efficiency matter more than ever in this environment. Over the past year, what key steps have you taken to improve both the productivity and efficiency of the business and, to date, what has been the impact?

We’ve made considerable effort in 2019 to streamline unnecessarily complex processes and procedures. We’ve empowered our colleagues at all levels to give their suggestions and challenge the status quo, and we’ve added dedicated resources to improve the experience of our clients and to make HSBC Private Banking a simpler and better place to work at.

Investments | What are the key investment themes that your private banking will focus on in 2020?

Looking ahead to 2020, our investment strategy positions for a global synchronised slowdown and protracted trade uncertainty, but not for a recession. Therefore we advise our clients to remain invested but stick with a balanced investment strategy with a defensive sector positioning and strong focus on multi-asset and global diversification for risk management.

Our high conviction themes for 2020 focus on selective areas of resilience where we can find long-term structural growth opportunities, fundamental quality, and carry opportunities. Positioning for a global slowdown in the year ahead, our top investment themes capture structural growth opportunities from industrial revolution 4.0, Asian consumer, China’s manufacturing upgrade, and the megatrend of sustainable investing.

Regulations | How has your private bank responded to regulators’ increased emphasis on building proper banking culture?

Having the right culture in place to facilitate the right kind of behaviours and great client outcomes is the absolute bedrock of our success. No business growth is worthwhile if it is not delivered in a safe and sustainable way.

Technology | If we can agree that effective private banking relies on banks having a deep understanding of client needs and behaviours, how are you leveraging tech and data to deepen this understanding?

We have long held the importance of having quality relationship managers and client teams who are supported by cutting edge technology, to help them spend more time with clients and deliver better advice. For instance, we’re investing significantly in portfolio analysis with our strategic partnership with Blackrock Aladdin. This will enhance analytics on our clients’ portfolios, with the ability to get enhanced alerts and notifications. At the same time, our investments in artificial intelligence and machine learning tools will allow us further deepen our understanding of client preferences and behavioural patterns. This is how we are using digital to drive a differentiated client experience – each client a unique segment, built around our robust RM/IC support model, to benefit our clients every day.


Meet 2019’s industry leaders in the full round up of of Asian Private Banker‘s The Final Word 2019.

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