HSBC loses sub-custody chief amid reorganisation

Colin Brooks, HSBC Securities Services' head of sub-custody, has left the bank. He has been replaced by two global heads who will jointly run the reorganised investor and asset services business.
HSBC loses sub-custody chief amid reorganisation

HSBC Securities Services’ global head of sub-custody has left the bank, which comes amid a reorganisation of its investor and asset services business.

He has been replaced by two global heads who will run the restructured business between them from Hong Kong and London.

In an unrelated announcement, HSBC’s global group head yesterday said the bank would be pivoting towards Asia Pacific and investing billions in financial technology (fintech).

AsianInvestor understands that Hong Kong-based Colin Brooks, global head of sub-custody and clearing at HSBC Securities Services, left the bank last week. Brooks had worked at HSBC since 1990, according to his LinkedIn profile, holding a number of positions including deputy head and COO of Securities Services Asia Pacific. It was not clear where he has moved to, but on LinkedIn he states he is “pondering next move”.

His departure comes as HSBC Securities Services' investor and asset servicing businesses go through a reorganisation.

Previously the business was divided into four divisions: global custody; direct custody and clearing; broker outsourcing; and fund services.

Now those four divisions are being merged into one, which will be named Investor and Asset Services.

The new business will be headed by Hong Kong-based Ian Stephenson and London-based John Van Verre. Stephenson was formerly head of fund services while Van Verre was head of global custody.

Stephenson will be in charge of the asset servicing side of the business, while Van Verre will head the investor services side - global custody and direct custody and clearing.

It is understood that the new structure, which is being rolled out internally, is an attempt to organise the investor and asset services business by client sector rather than product. It was not clear who else has moved or left the company as part of the reorganisation.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated move, HSBC’s global group CEO yesterday outlined changes designed to reposition the bank, including job losses and a tilt to Asia.

In a presentation to investors, Stuart Gulliver announced a rebalancing towards Asia Pacific, with particular emphasis on the Pearl River Delta as it seeks to become “China’s international bank”.

The bank has also unveiled a major push into financial technology as it seeks to save billions of dollars over the coming years by automating processes and catching up with peers.

Gulliver, HSBC’s global group CEO, briefed investors on a wide-ranging restructuring of the bank across all its markets as it aims to save $4.5-5 billion by 2017.

The bank aims to reduce its headcount by up to 25,000, but Gulliver yesterday said he did not expect any net reduction of staff in Hong Kong, as HSBC focuses on the high-growth markets of the Pearl River Delta, which include Hong Kong and Guangdong province. It intends to move capital from low-growth markets and redeploy it in such Asian markets.

Gulliver confirmed HSBC was wholly or partially exiting the Brazilian and Turkish markets. “The logic is for us to be China’s international bank. We need to think cross-border,” he said.

Gulliver cited Beijing’s One Road, One Belt policy as something which fitted with HSBC’s cross-border strategy.

HSBC recently initiated a review into the location of its global headquarters, which is currently in London. Gulliver said the HSBC board had not started discussing the matter yet, but would be using certain criteria to evaluate the best possible HQ location, with a decision to be made by the end of 2015. Hong Kong is widely seen as the most likely destination for HSBC should it choose to move.

And investors at the presentation were shown details of HSBC’s moves in fintech, which the bank admitted lagged behind its peers.

Its digital investments and productivity improvements, for example, would lead to a headcount reduction of up to 8,000 and cost savings of up to $1 billion; automation and re-engineering operations would cut staffing levels by up to 13,000 and deliver cost savings of up to $900 billion.

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