HSBC sees departure of at least 4 Hong Kong bankers amid sluggish deal environment

Eric Bai

6th December 2023 – (Hong Kong) HSBC Holdings Plc has witnessed the departure of at least four bankers based in Hong Kong due to a lack of deal activity in the region, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The bank has reduced staff within its commercial banking origination unit for Greater China as the region grapples with a slowdown in deals amidst concerns over the macroeconomic outlook and volatile markets. HSBC joins other firms, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc., in downsizing their workforce in response to the challenging environment. This year has been particularly challenging for global deal-making, with the value of mergers and acquisitions in mainland China and Hong Kong projected to be the lowest since 2013, representing just over half the annual average since then.

HSBC’s commercial bank origination team has been focusing on driving investment banking opportunities for mid-cap clients, even as deal activity has slowed. The bank has continued to invest in China, as demonstrated by its recent agreement to acquire Citigroup’s retail wealth management portfolio in October. Additionally, HSBC increased its stake in its Chinese securities venture last year.

In a separate development, Eric Bai, HSBC’s global co-head of the financial institutions group, has reportedly resigned. According to sources, Bai intends to establish his own artificial intelligence venture. Alexander Paul, the other co-head, is set to assume sole leadership of the group. HSBC declined to comment on these personnel changes.