By Kao Shih-ching / Staff reporter
HSBC Bank Taiwan Ltd (匯豐台灣商銀) is to invest hundreds of millions of dollars per year over the next five years to boost its wealth management business in Taiwan, with plans to hire at least 300 financial planners, the bank said on Thursday.
The expansion is part of a plan announced last month by London-headquartered parent company, HSBC Holdings PLC, to invest US$3.5 billion in its wealth management services in Asia, with an aim to become a leading wealth bank.
“The local market presents ample opportunity for the wealth management business,” HSBC Taiwan retail banking and wealth management head Linda Yip (葉清玉) told the Taipei Times at a media briefing in Taipei.
The plan comes as the nation’s GDP growth has outperformed neighboring countries in the past few years, with mild inflation, which led Taiwan to ranking fourth in purchasing power parity in Asia, after Macau, Singapore and Hong Kong, she said.
“It suggested that Taiwanese on average have more idle money to invest after buying necessities, compared with those in Japan and South Korea, which means more business opportunity for us,” she said.
HSBC Taiwan predicted that the number of premier customers, which the bank defined as those with assets of more than NT$10 million (US$351,333), to rise more than 20 percent in the next five years, as many affluent customers, those with assets of more than NT$3 million, are soon expected to reach the NT$10 million threshold, Yip said.
“Taiwanese have the entrepreneurship spirit. Many start their own businesses after working at a firm for a while, and many succeed in accumulating wealth through their businesses. Our customers’ businesses are quite diverse, ranging from trade to technology,” she said.
HSBC Taiwan would recruit at least 300 customer-facing employees, including financial planners and customer relationship managers, to support its customers, while it would vet job applicants carefully after a surge of reports of employees at other banks stealing money from customers last year, she said.
“Our rewards policy is very balanced. We encourage financial planners to provide the products that meet customers’ demands and risk appetite, not those with higher commissions. We also educate our customers not to share their stamps or bankbooks with others,” she said.
The bank aims to grow its assets under management faster than the market, which would require customers’ trust and the bank offering good financial planning, Yip said.
Its premier customers are expected to contribute to growth momentum for its asset under management, but the bank would not ignore younger customers with savings of more than NT$500,000 with the bank, she said.
The bank would also improve its digital investment platform for the customers, she added.
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