Top 100 Brand in The World – Rank no.32 – HSBC Holdings – UK
“Connecting Customers to Opportunities"
|Type||Public limited company|
|Traded as||LSE: HSBA
SEHK: 0005 NYSE: HBC
|Industry||Banking, Financial services|
|Founded||1865 (The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation)
1991 (HSBC Holdings plc)
|Headquarters||8 Canada Square,
London, United Kingdom
|Key people||Douglas Flint
(Group Chief Executive)
|Services||Credit cards, consumer banking, corporate banking,investment banking, mortgage loans, private banking, wealth management|
|Revenue||US$ 75.60 billion (2012)|
|Operating income||US$ 20.64 billion (2012)|
|Profit||US$ 14.02 billion (2012)|
|Total assets||US$ 2.692 trillion (2012)|
|Total equity||US$ 175.2 billion (2012)|
|Subsidiaries||HSBC Bank plc, The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, HSBC GLT India,HSBC Bank USA, HSBC Bank Middle East, HSBC Mexico,HSBC Bank Brazil, HSBC Finance|
HSBC Holdings plc is a British multinational banking and financial services company headquartered in London, England, United Kingdom. It is one of the world’s largest banks. It was founded in London in 1991 by the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporationto act as a new group holding company. The origins of the bank lie in Hong Kong and Shanghai, where branches were first opened in 1865. The HSBC name is derived from the initials of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation.
HSBC has around 7,200 offices in 85 countries and territories across Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and South America, and around 89 million customers. As of 31 December 2012 it had total assets of $2.693 trillion, of which roughly half were in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and a quarter in each of Asia-Pacific and the Americas. As of 2012, it was the world’s largest bank in terms of assets and sixth-largest public company, according to a composite measure by Forbes magazine.
HSBC has a dual primary listing on the HongKong and London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. As of 6 July 2012 it had a market capitalisation of £102.7 billion, the second-largest company listed on the London Stock Exchange, afterRoyal Dutch Shell. It has secondary listings on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (where it is a constituent of the Hang Seng Index), the New York Stock Exchange, Euronext Paris and the Bermuda Stock Exchange.
The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation was founded by Scotsman Sir Thomas Sutherland in the then British colony ofHong Kong on 3 March 1865, and in Shanghai one month later, benefiting from the start of trading into China, including opium trading. In 1980, HSBC acquired a 51% shareholding in US-based Marine Midland Bank, which it extended to full ownership in 1987.
HSBC Holdings plc was established in the United Kingdom in 1991 as the parent company to the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation in preparation for its purchase of the UK-based Midland Bank and the impending transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong to China. HSBC Holdings’ acquisition of Midland Bank was completed in 1992 and gave HSBC a substantial market presence in the United Kingdom. As part of the takeover conditions for the acquisition, HSBC Holdings plc was required to relocate its world headquarters from Hong Kong to London in 1993.
Major acquisitions in South America started with the purchase of the Banco Bamerindus of Brazil for $1bn in March 1997 and the acquisition of Roberts SA de Inversiones of Argentina for $600m in May 1997. In May 1999, HSBC expanded its presence in the United States with the purchase of Republic National Bank of New York for $10.3bn.₢ ŹS
Expansion into Continental Europe took place in April 2000 with the acquisition of Crédit Commercial de France, a large French bank for £6.6bn. In July 2001 HSBC bought Demirbank, an insolvent Turkish bank. In July 2002, Arthur Andersen announced that HSBC USA, Inc., through a new subsidiary, Wealth and Tax Advisory Services USA Inc. (WTAS), would purchase a portion of Andersen’s tax practice. The new HSBC Private Client Services Group would serve the wealth and tax advisory needs of high net worth individuals. Then in August 2002 HSBC acquired Grupo Financiero Bital, SA de CV, Mexico’s third largest retail bank for $1.1bn. In November 2002 HSBC expanded further in the United States. Under the chairmanship of Sir John Bond, it spent £9 billion (US$15.5 billion) to acquire Household Finance Corporation (HFC), a US credit card issuer and subprime lender. In a 2003 cover story, The Banker noted “when banking historians look back, they may conclude that [it] was the deal of the first decade of the 21st century". Under the new name of HSBC Finance, the division was the second largest subprime lender in the US.
On 22 November 2001, the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp would provide a fixed-rate mortgage to buyers of Cheung Kong (Holdings)’ Victoria Towers residential development.
In September 2003 HSBC bought Polski Kredyt Bank SA of Poland for $7.8m. In June 2004 HSBC expanded into China buying 19.9% of the Bank of Communications of Shanghai. In the United Kingdom HSBC acquired Marks & Spencer Retail Financial Services Holdings Ltd for £763m in December 2004. Acquisitions in 2005 included Metris Inc, a US credit card issuer for $1.6bn in August and 70.1% of Dar es Salaam Investment Bank of Iraq in October. In April 2006 HSBC bought the 90 branches in Argentina of Banca Nazionale del Lavoro for $155m. In December 2007 HSBC acquired the Chinese Bank in Taiwan. In May 2008 HSBC acquired IL&FS Investment, an Indian retail broking firm.
In 2005 Bloomberg Markets magazine accused HSBC of money-laundering for drug dealers and state sponsors of terrorism. Then-CEO Stephen Green said that “This was a singular and wholly irresponsible attack on the bank’s international compliance procedures”, but subsequent investigation indicated that it was accurate and proved that the bank was involved in money laundering throughout Mexico.U.S. Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer characterised HSBC compliance during this period as “stunning failures of oversight – and worse … The record of dysfunction that prevailed at HSBC for many years was astonishing."
In March 2009, HSBC announced that it would shut down the branch network of its HSBC Finance arm in the U.S., leading to nearly 6,000 job losses and leaving only the credit card business to continue operating. Chairman Stephen Green stated, “HSBC has a reputation for telling it as it is. With the benefit of hindsight, this is an acquisition we wish we had not undertaken." According to analyst Colin Morton, “the takeover was an absolute disaster".
Although it was at the centre of the subprime storm, the wider group has weathered the financial crisis of 2007–2010 better than other global banks. According to Bloomberg, “HSBC is one of world’s strongest banks by some measures". When HM Treasury required all UK banks to increase their capital in October 2007, the group transferred £750 million to London within hours, and announced that it had just lent £4 billion to other UK banks. In March 2009, it announced that it had made US$9.3bn of profit in 2008 and announced a £12.5bn (US$17.7bn; HK$138bn) rights issue to enable it to buy other banks that were struggling to survive. However, uncertainty over the rights’ issue’s implications for institutional investors caused volatility in the Hong Kong stock market: on 9 March 2009 HSBC’s share price fell 24.14%, with 12 million shares sold in the last few seconds of trading.
On 11 May 2011 the new chief executive Stuart Gulliver announced that HSBC would refocus its business strategy and that a large-scale retrenchment of operations, particularly in respect of the retail sector, was planned. HSBC would no longer seek to be ‘the world’s local bank’, as costs associated with this were spiralling and US$3.5bn needed to be saved by 2013, with the aim of bringing overheads down from 55% of revenues to 48%. In 2010, then-chairman Stephen Green planned to depart HSBC to accept a government appointment in the Trade Ministry. Group Chief Executive Michael Geoghegan was expected to become the next chairman. However, while many current and former senior employees supported the tradition of promoting the chief executive to chairman, many shareholders instead pushed for an external candidate. HSBC’s board of directors had reportedly been split over the succession planning, and investors were alarmed that this row would damage the company.
On 23 September 2010, Geoghegan announced he would step down as chief executive of HSBC. He was succeeded as chief executive of HSBC by Stuart Gulliver, while Green was succeeded as Chairman by Douglas Flint; Flint was serving as HSBC’s finance director (chief financial officer). August 2011: Further to CEO Stuart Gulliver’s plan to cut $3.5 billion in costs over the next 2 years, HSBC announced that it will cut 25,000 jobs and exit from 20 countries by 2013 in addition to 5,000 job- cuts announced earlier in the year. The consumer banking division of HSBC will focus on the UK, Hong Kong, high-growth markets such as Mexico, Singapore, Turkey and Brazil, and smaller countries where it has a leading market share. According to Reuters, Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver told the media, “There will be further job cuts. There will be something like 25,000 roles eliminated between now and the end of 2013."
In August 2011 “to align our U.S. business with our global network and meet the local and international needs of domestic and overseas clients", HSBC agreed to sell 195 branches in New York and Connecticut to First Niagara Financial Group Inc for around $1 billion and announced the closure of 13 branches in Connecticut and New Jersey. The rest of HSBC’s U.S. network will only be about half from a total 470 branches before divestments. On 9 August 2011, Capital One Financial Corp. agreed to acquire HSBC’s U.S. credit card business for $2.6 billion, netting HSBC Holdings an estimated after-tax profit of $2.4 billion. In September it was announced that HSBC seeks to sell its general insurance business for around $1 billion.
In 2012, HSBC was the subject of hearings of the U.S. Senate permanent subcommittee for investigations for severe deficiencies in its anti money laundering practices. On 16 July the committee presented its findings. Among other things it concludes that HSBC has been transferring $7 billion in banknotes from its Mexican to its US subsidiary, much of it related to drug dealing, was disregarding terrorist financing links and was actively circumventing U.S. safeguards to block transactions involving terrorists, drug lords and rogue regimes, including hiding $19.4 billion in transactions with Iran.
In July 2012 HSBC came under investigation for allegedly assisting in the money laundering of drug dealers and terrorist money  for many years, after a probe by the US Federal Reserve and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency found that there was “significant potential for unreported money laundering or terrorist financing".
On 11 December 2012, HSBC agreed to pay a record $1.92 billion fine in this money laundering case. “Bank officials repeatedly ignored internal warnings that HSBC’s monitoring systems were inadequate, the Justice Department said. In 2008, for example, the CEO of HSBC Mexico was told that Mexican law enforcement had a recording of a Mexican drug lord saying that HSBC Mexico was the place to launder money." The DOJ, however, decided not to pursue criminal penalties, a decision which the New York Times labelled a “dark day for the rule of law."
“We accept responsibility for our past mistakes. We have said we are profoundly sorry for them, and we do so again." HSBC Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver said.
In July 2013, Alan Keir was appointed Chief Executive of HSBC Bank plc after Brian Robertson resigned from his post. Keir’s duties include overseeing the firm’s UK, European, Middle Eastern and African divisions.
HSBC has a significant presence in each of the world’s major financial markets, with the Americas, Asia Pacific and Europe each representing around one third of its business. HSBC is the largest bank in Hong Kong and prints most of Hong Kong’s local currency in its own name. As of 2 April 2008, according to Forbes magazine, HSBC was the fourth-largest bank in the world by assets (with $2,348.98 billion), the second largest in terms of revenues (with $146.50 billion) and the largest in terms of market value (with $180.81 billion). It was also the most profitable bank in the world with $19.13 billion in net income in 2007 (compared to Citigroup‘s $3.62 billion and Bank of America‘s $14.98 billion in the same period). Since the end of 2005, HSBC has been rated the largest banking group in the world by Tier 1 capital. In February 2008, HSBC was named the world’s most valuable banking brand by The Banker magazine.
HSBC is known for a conservative and risk-averse approach to business – a company tradition going back to the 19th century. This reputation has been brought into question in the 21st century.
In its technical management, however, HSBC has recently suffered a series of headline-making incidents in which some customer data were allegedly leaked or simply went missing. Although the consequences turned out to be small, the embarrassing effect on the group’s image did not go unnoticed.
HSBC is currently audited by one of the Big Four auditors, KPMG. The HSBC and KPMG headquarters are adjacent to one another, with KPMG occupying 15 Canada Square.HSBC Main Building, Hong Kong is also adjacent to KPMG office located in Prince’s Building. A decision on 2 August 2013 made public that PricewaterhouseCoopers will take on the HSBC audit in 2015. 
HSBC organises its customer-facing activities within four business groups: Commercial Banking; Global Banking and Markets (investment banking); Personal Financial Services (retail banking and consumer finance); and Global Private Banking.
HSBC provides financial services to small, medium-sized and middle-market enterprises. The group has more than 3 million of such customers, including sole proprietors, partnerships, clubs and associations, incorporated businesses and publicly quoted companies.
Global Banking and Markets is the investment banking arm of HSBC. It provides investment banking and financing solutions for corporate and institutional clients, including corporate banking, investment banking, capital markets, trade services, payments and cash management, and leveraged acquisition finance. It provides services in equities, credit and rates, foreign exchange, money markets and securities services, in addition to asset management services.
Global Banking and Markets has offices in more than 60 countries and territories worldwide, and describes itself as “emerging markets-led and financing-focused".
HSBC Private Bank is the marketing name for the private banking business conducted by the principal private banking subsidiaries of the HSBC Group worldwide. HSBC Private Bank, together with the private banking activities of HSBC Trinkaus, known collectively as Group Private Banking, provides services to high net worth individuals and their families through 93 locations in some 42 countries and territories in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa. As of December 2007, profits before tax were US$1,511 million and combined client assets under management were US$494 billion.
In September 2008, HSBC announced that it would combine its two Swiss private banks under one brand name in 2009, with HSBC Guyerzeller and HSBC Private Bank to be merged into one legal entity, under the newly appointed CEO of HSBC Private Bank, Alexandre Zeller.
HSBC provides more than 100 million customers worldwide with a full range of personal financial services, including current and savings accounts, mortgage loans, car financing, insurance, credit cards, loans, pensions and investments.
Retail Banking and Wealth Management was previously referred to as Personal Financial Services. This rename was announced during HSBC’s 2011 Investor Day.
As a cost-saving measure HSBC is offshoring processing work to lower cost economies in order to reduce the cost of providing services in developed countries. These locations take on work such as data processing and customer service, but also internal software engineering at Pune (India), Bangalore (India),Hyderabad (India), Vishakhapatnam (India), Calcutta (India), Guangzhou (China), Curitiba (Brazil) and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).
Chief Operating Officer Alan Jebson said in March 2005 that he would be very surprised if fewer than 25,000 people were working in the centres over the next three years: “I don’t have a precise target but I would be surprised if we had less than 15 (global service centres) in three years’ time.” He went on to say that each centre cost the bank from $20m to $30m to set up, but that for every job moved the bank saves about $20,000 (£10,400).
Currently, HSBC operates centres out of eight countries, including Brazil (Curitiba), the Czech Republic (Ostrava), India (Calcutta,Hyderabad, Bangalore, Visakhapatnam, Bombay, Gurgaon and Pune), China (Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen), Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur), Poland (Krakow), Sri Lanka (Rajagiriya) and the Philippines (Manila). The Malta trial for a UK high value call centre has resulted in a growing operation that country. An option under consideration is reported to be a processing centre in Vietnam to access the French skills of the population and therefore cut costs in the bank’s French operations.
HSBC Direct is a telephone/online direct banking operation which attracts customers through mortgages, accounts and savings. It was first launched in the USA in November 2005 and is based on HSBC’s ‘First Direct’ subsidiary in Britain which was launched in the 1980s. The service is now also available in Canada, Taiwan, South Korea,France and India. Poland is launching business direct in September 2009. In the US, HSBC Direct is now part of HSBC Advance
HSBCnet is a global service that caters to local business needs by offering specialised functionality for different regions worldwide.
The system provides access to transaction banking functionality – ranging from payments and cash management to trade services features – as well as to research and analytical content from HSBC. It also includes foreign exchange and money markets trading functionality.
The system is used widely by HSBC’s high-end corporate and institutional clients served variously by the bank’s global banking and markets, commercial banking and global transaction banking divisions.
HSBCnet is also the brand under which HSBC markets its global e-commerce proposition to its corporate and institutional clients.
HSBC Advance is the group’s product aimed at working professionals. The exact benefits and qualifications vary depending on country, but typically require a transfer of Salary of USD 1,500 or more every month or Maintain USD 25,000 of deposits in a Savings/Current Account or investments. Advantages may vary depending on country, such as day-to-day banking services including but not limited to a Platinum Credit Card, Advance ATM Card, Current Account and Savings Account. Protection plans and Financial Planning Services. A HSBC Advance customer enables the customer to open accounts in another country and transfer their credit history.
HSBC Premier is the group’s premium financial services product, comparable to the Centurion service of American Express. It has its own Elite Card entitled HSBC Premier World Card. The exact benefits and qualification criteria vary depending on country. Customers have a dedicated Premier Relationship Manager, global 24-hour access to call centres, free banking services and preferential rates. A HSBC Premier customer receives the HSBC Premier services in all countries that offer HSBC Premier, without having to meet that country’s qualifying criteria (“Premier in One, Premier in All").
Money laundering has been an issue in Argentina, India, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Following search warrants and raids beginning in January 2013, in mid-March 2013 Argentina’s main taxing authority accused HSBC of using fake receipts and dummy accounts to facilitate money laundering and tax evasion.
On 19 July 2012, India assured to get to the bottom of alleged violation of safety compliance, in which Indian employees are presumed to be involved. On 9 November 2012, Indian activist and politician Arvind Kejriwal claimed he had details of 700 Indian bank accounts hiding black money with a total value of 6000 crore (US$920 million) with HSBC in Geneva. In June 2013, a media outlet in India did an undercover expose where HSBC officers were caught on camera agreeing to launder “black money." HSBC placed these employees on leave pending their own internal investigation.
In early February 2013, appearing before UK’s Parliamentary Banking Standards Commission, CEO Stuart Gulliver acknowledged that the structure of the bank had been “not fit for purpose.” He also stated, “Matters that should have been shared and escalated were not shared and escalated.” HSBC has also been accused of laundering money for terrorist groups.
In both 2003 and 2010, U.S. regulators ordered HSBC to strengthen its anti-money laundering practices. In October 2010, the United States OCC issued a Cease and Desist Order requiring HSBC to strengthen multiple aspects of its Anti-Money Laundering (AML) program. The identified problems included a once massive backlog of over 17,000 alerts identifying suspicious activity, failure to file timely suspicious activity reports with U.S. law enforcement, failure to conduct any due diligence to assess risks to HSBC affiliates before opening correspondent accounts for them, a three-year failure by HBUS from mid-2006 to mid-2009 to conduct any AML of $15 billion in bulk cash transactions from those same HSBC affiliates, failure to monitor $60 trillion in annual wire transfers by customers in countries rated lower risk by HBUS, and inadequate and unqualified AML staffing, resources, and leadership. It was noted that HSBC fully cooperated with the Senate investigation.
In November 2012 it was reported that HSBC had set up offshore accounts in Jersey for suspected drug-dealers and other criminals, and that HM Revenue and Customs had launched an investigation following a whistleblower leaking details of £700 million allegedly held in HSBC accounts in the Crown dependency .
In December 2012, Assistant U.S. Attorney General Lanny Breuer suggested that the U.S. government might resist criminal prosecution of HSBC which could lead to the loss of the bank’s U.S. charter. He stated, “Our goal here is not to bring HSBC down, it’s not to cause a systemic effect on the economy, it’s not for people to lose thousands of jobs."
In December 2012, HSBC was penalized $1.9 billion (US), the largest fine under the Bank Secrecy Act, for violating four U.S. laws designed to protect the U.S. financial system.HSBC had allegedly laundered at least $881 million in drugs proceeds through the U.S. financial system for international cartels, as well as processing an additional $660 million for banks in US sanctioned countries. According to the report, “The U.S. bank subsidiary [also] failed to monitor more than $670 billion in wire transfers and more than $9.4 billion in purchases of physical dollars from its Mexico unit." As part of the agreement deferring its prosecution, HSBC acknowledged that for years it had ignored warning signs that drug cartels in Mexico were using its branches to launder millions of dollars, and also acknowledged that HSBC’s international staff had stripped identifying information on transactions made through the United States from countries facing economic sanctions such as Iran and Sudan.
A February 2013 article in Rolling Stone magazine, which was critical of what they regarded as the timid response by the U.S. Justice Department, stated “Yes, they issued a fine – $1.9 billion, or about five weeks’ profit – but they didn’t extract so much as one dollar or one day in jail from any individual, despite a decade of stupefying abuses” and further stated, “In this case, the bank literally got away with murder – well, aiding and abetting it, anyway.” A December 2012 CNNMoney article compared the 1.9 billion dollar fine to HSBC’s profit “last year" (2011) of 16.8 billion.
In the report titled “In the Future There Will Be No Forests Left" produced by Global Witness, the bank is also being accused of supporting the seven largest Malaysian timber conglomerates which are responsible for rapid deforestation in the Malaysian state of Sarawak without any FSC certifications. However, the bank declined to divulge its clients on this issue, citing the confidentiality of its clients; but the bank maintains that the accusations that its clients violate forestland and forest-products policy is not accurate.
HSBC also held billions of dollars of Libya‘s Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, as well as personal accounts for him and his family, and after Gaddafi’s overthrown andassassination there has been no evidence of those funds being returned to the Libyan people.   
The group announced in November 1999 that the HSBC brand and the hexagon symbol would be adopted as the unified brand in all the markets where HSBC operates, with the aim of enhancing recognition of the group and its values by customers, shareholders and staff throughout the world.
The hexagon symbol was originally adopted by the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation as its logo in 1983. It was developed from the bank’s house flag, a white rectangle divided diagonally to produce a red hourglass shape. Like many other Hong Kong company flags that originated in the 19th century, and because of its founder’s nationality, the design was based on the cross of Saint Andrew. The logo was designed by Austrian graphic artist Henry Steiner.
Having sponsored the Jaguar Racing Formula One team since the days of Stewart Grand Prix, HSBC ended its relationship with the sport when Red Bull purchased Jaguar Racing from Ford. HSBC has now switched its focus to golf, taking title sponsorship of events such as the HSBC World Match Play Championship, HSBC Women’s World Match Play Championship (now defunct), HSBC Champions and HSBC Women’s Champions.
In football HSBC sponsors French club AS Monaco and Mexican club C.F. Pachuca, and in rugby league, HSBC sponsors Telford Raiders in the Rugby League Conference. In Australia, HSBC sponsors the New South Wales Waratahs rugby team in Super Rugbyrugby union competition, as well as the Hawthorn Football Club in the Australian Football League.
HSBC sponsors the Great Canadian Geography Challenge, which has had around 2 million participants in the past 12 years. Since 2001, HSBC has sponsored the Celebration of Light, an annual musical fireworks competition in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. In 2007 HSBC announced it would be a sponsor of the National Hockey League’s Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames. HSBC has also sponsored a professional gaming team that was disbanded late 2007. HSBC is also committed to local sponsorships, the Mandarins Cricket Club being one example.
HSBC is the official banking partner of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, providing banking facilities on site and renaming the Road to Wimbledon junior event, as the HSBC Road to Wimbledon National 14 and Under Challenge.
In October 2010, the International Rugby Board announced that they had concluded a 5-year deal with HSBC which granted them status as the first ever title sponsor of the IRB Sevens World Series. Through the accord, HSBC acquired title naming rights to all tournaments in the IRB Series, beginning with the Dubai Sevens on 3 December 2010. HSBC has since opted to sub-license the naming rights to individual tournaments, while retaining its name sponsorship of the overall series.