It isn't being spoken about widely, and representations and promises aren't being made to potential clients yet, but HSBC is moving closer to joining the roster of institutions that offer a prime-broking product in Asia.

To this end, it has hired Matt Kiraly and Lauren Degney from Citi to work in its equity finance team as it puts together personnel who will ultimately launch the product. The UK bank is also looking for a regional head of prime broking, a vacancy that should arouse the interest of many senior prime brokers, service providers and hedge-fund managers.

Kiraly was vice-president for prime finance sales in Asia-Pacific ex-Japan at Citi, where he had been since 2007. He has also worked for Bear Stearns, Brown Brothers Harriman and Nikko Alternative Asset Management.

HSBC's arrival as a prime broker in this region will undoubtedly have an impact and give it the impetus to garner market share from the competition. For a long time it has been the market leader in hedge-fund administration in Asia, and that penetration will give it an immediate advantage in prime broking, as well as its ability to provide a deep stock-loan product.

Globally, HSBC's prime-broking unit is run by London-based Cian Burke. In Asia, the business is still at a nascent stage, and the most senior figure is Martin Oakley, who is focused on building the information technology platform.

The appointments of Degney and Kiraly follow the hire of prime-broking veteran Melvyn Ford to run Asia hedge-fund coverage for HSBC, as revealed by AsianInvestor last week.