News of the planned ending of these businesses broke over the weekend in the Gulf press. In a statement issued to the Reuters news agency on Sunday, and carried on the Arabianbusiness.com website, the bank said its global strategy for retail banking and wealth management is "to offer and grow the wealth business in markets where we can achieve scale”.
It added: “After a detailed review of our MENA business, we will discontinue sales of any new wealth investment or wealth insurance products in Lebanon, Jordan and Bahrain from Oct 7, 2013.”
Existing HSBC wealth management clients in these countries will continue to be looked after, and their HSBC wealth management investments will be seen through to maturity, Reuters reported the bank as saying.
It noted that HSBC operates its wealth management operations separately from its private banking businesses. HSBC is said to have a presence in more than a dozen countries in the Gulf region.
‘£1bn in savings’ sought
Since Stuart Gulliver was appointed chief executive of HSBC in 2011, he has overseen a global strategic overhaul that has seen the lender sell or otherwise get out of more than 50 businesses. In March, as he was unveiling the company’s 2012 results, Gulliver said he wanted to find a further $1bn in annual savings in 2013.
Two months prior to this, HSBC Bank International revealed it had completely closed down its Isle of Man and Guernsey centres for international clients based overseas, after having surrendering its branch licences in both crown dependencies.
As reported, in June, HSBC was said to have told an undisclosed number of small and medium-sized enterprises in the UAE that they would have to close their accounts, as part of its ongoing cutbacks.
HSBC is headquartered in London, although its roots are in Asia, where it used to be known as the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. HSBC Holdings was set up in 1991, ahead of the company’s acquisition of UK-based Midland Bank and Hong Kong’s transfer to Chinese from British control.