HSBC puts global footprint under fresh scrutiny, considers dozen exits
HSBC is reviewing a possible exit from as many as a dozen countries, or one in five of the markets it operates in, to sharpen its focus on Asian expansion, Chief Financial Officer Georges Elhedery told Reuters in his first interview since taking the role.
The reviews follow pressure from Chinese shareholder Ping An Insurance, which wants HSBC to prioritise growth in Asia, where the British bank generates 78% of its total profit.
“Some of these will have slower progress than others, and none of them is material enough on its own to change the profile of the overall business, but as we progress through and execute on these assessments, we do expect them to contribute towards that shift to Asia,” Elhedery said, declining to disclose which markets were under review or the time frame.
HSBC’s ongoing pivot to Asia has already triggered planned sales of all or parts of its businesses in France, Greece, Russia and Canada, announced in the last two years.
While the markets under review may be relatively small, the move is significant in showing the pressure HSBC faces to shrink its once globe-spanning local banking businesses in order to lift returns and appease its investors.
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