The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation
HSBC (Chinese: 滙豐; Cantonese Yale: Wuihfūng), officially known as The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (Chinese: 香港上海滙豐銀行有限公司), is a wholly owned subsidiary of HSBC, the largest bank in Hong Kong, and operates branches and offices throughout the Asia Pacific region, and in other countries around the world. It is also one of the three commercial banks licensed by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to issue banknotes for the Hong Kong dollar.
HSBC Main Building (HSBC headquarters), Central, Hong Kong
|The Hongkong and Shanghai Bank|
|Public Limited Company|
(Origin: Body Corporate formed by Special Ordinance)
|Founded||3 March 1865 in British Hong Kong|
Incorporated on 14 August 1866
|Founder||Sir Thomas Sutherland|
|Headquarters||HSBC Main Building, Central,|
|Noel Quinn (interim)|
(Deputy Chairman & CEO)
|Products||Retail banking, commercial banking, investment banking, mortgage loans, private banking, wealth management, credit cards, finance and insurance|
Number of employees
|68,294 (2014) |
|The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation|
|Cantonese Yale||Heūnggóng Seuhnghói Wuihfūng ngànhòng yaúhhaahn gūngsī|
|Alternative Chinese name|
"The Hongkong and Shanghai Bank" was established in British Hong Kong in 1865 and was incorporated as "The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation" in 1866, and has been based in Hong Kong (although now as a subsidiary) ever since. It was renamed "The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited" in 1989. It is the founding member of the HSBC Group of Banks and Companies, and, since 1990, is the namesake and one of the leading subsidiaries of the London-based HSBC Holdings PLC. The company's business ranges from the traditional High Street roles of retail banking, commercial banking, corporate banking to investment banking, private banking and global banking.
After the British established Hong Kong as a colony in the aftermath of the First Opium War, merchants from other parts of the British Empire, now in Hong Kong, felt the need for a bank to finance the growing trade, through Hong Kong and sometimes also through Shanghai, between China and British India, the rest of the British Empire and Europe, of goods, produces and merchandises of all kinds, but especially opium, cultivated in or transited (re-exported) through the Raj, and to that end, they organised amongst themselves and formed The Hongkong and Shanghai Bank in Hong Kong (March 1865), and in Shanghai one month later.
The founder, Thomas Sutherland of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, wanted a bank operating on "sound Scottish banking principles." Still, the original location of the bank was considered crucial and the founders chose Wardley House in Hong Kong since the construction was based on some of the best fung shui in Colonial Hong Kong. The bank initially leased its premises for HK$500 a month in 1864.
After raising a capital stock of HK$5 million, the bank commenced operations on 3 March 1865. It opened a branch in Shanghai during April of that year, and started issuing locally denominated banknotes in both the Crown Colony and Shanghai soon afterwards. The bank was incorporated in Hong Kong as The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation by the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank Ordinance (Numbers 2 and 5 of 1866), and a branch in Japan was also established in Yokohama in 1866. Shares of the bank were one of 13 securities initially traded on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, and were traded on that exchange until the Japanese closed the exchange in 1941. The bank handled the first public loan in China in 1874, thereafter issuing most public loans.
Sir Thomas Jackson became chief manager in 1876. During his twenty-six year tenure, the Bank became a leader in Asia. Notable events included being the first bank established in Thailand, in 1888, where it printed the country's first banknotes; acting as banker for the Hong Kong government from the 1880s; and participating in the management of British colonial government accounts in China, Japan, Penang and Singapore. A period of expansion followed, with new buildings constructed in Bangkok (1921), Manila (1922) and Shanghai (1923), and a new head office building in Hong Kong in 1935.
Second World War and Chinese Civil War
In anticipation of the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong in 1941, the Bank's head office moved to London. During the period 1941–1943 the chief manager Sir Vandeleur Grayburn, and his successor David C. Edmondston, both died while interned by the Japanese. Arthur Morse was appointed Chief Manager in 1943 and led the bank after the war. The head office moved back to Hong Kong in 1946. During the Japanese occupation the Bank's head office building was occupied as the headquarters of the Hong Kong Japanese military government.
Although its assets were restored to HSBC at the end of the war, the Chinese Civil War affected HSBC's recovery. The Communist Party of China took over Shanghai in early 1949, towards the end of the civil war. By 1955, while HSBC was permitted to continue to operate the Shanghai branch, all its operations elsewhere in mainland China were closed. The operations of the Shanghai branch were limited to inward remittances and export bills, and so the bank moved out of its grand headquarters building on the Bund and moved into offices in the Lyceum Building on Yuenmingyuen Road (now Yuanmingyuan Road).
Michael Turner became Chief Manager in 1953 and set about diversifying the business. His tenure came to an end in 1962 having established The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation of California 1955 and having acquired The British Bank of the Middle East and the Mercantile Bank (based in India) in Aug 1959. Turner was succeeded in 1962 by Jake Saunders. In 1964 the Chief Managership was superseded as the top executive role in the bank by an Executive Chairmanship. Saunders took this role until retirement in 1972 and was succeeded as Chief Manager in 1964 by H.J. Shen, the managing director of Maysun Trading Co. and the former head of the Central Trust of China, who became the first ethnic Chinese to be appointed to the position of Chief Manager of the bank. Under Saunders' tenure the bank continued to expand. 1965 saw the bank purchase a controlling interest in Hang Seng Bank of Hong Kong, and 1972 the formation of a merchant banking arm, Wardley Limited.
Creation of the HSBC Group
In 1980, the Bank, now under the chairmanship of Michael Sandberg, acquired a 51% stake in Marine Midland Bank, of the United States of America, and continued its expansion with the establishment of Hongkong Bank of Canada (now HSBC Bank Canada) in 1981 and HongkongBank of Australia Limited (now HSBC Bank Australia Limited) in 1986. 1987, under the Chairmanship of William Purves, saw the bank's ownership of Marine Midland Bank increased to 100% and the acquisition of a 14.9% share in Midland Bank in the United Kingdom.
The present building in Hong Kong was designed by Sir Norman Foster and was held as one of the most expensive and technologically advanced buildings in the world in 1986, costing HK$5.3 billion.
On 6 October 1989, it was renamed by the Legislative Council, by an amendment to its governing ordinance originally made in 1929, The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, and became registered as a regulated bank with the then Banking Commissioner of the Government of Hong Kong.
In 1991, HSBC reorganised as a holding company, HSBC Holdings plc; shares are traded on the London, Hong Kong, Paris, New York and Bermuda stock exchanges.
In September 2011, HSBC planned to cut about 3,000 jobs over the next three years in Hong Kong. It was stated that the number of 3,000 jobs might be less due to efforts to try to redeploy some staff to other roles. The Hong Kong base employed 23,000 people at that time.
Credit card operations in the US have been sold to Capital One.
Hong Kong banking
Under the HSBC brand, the bank maintains a network of around 220 branches throughout the Hong Kong SAR, from which it offers a wide range of financial products and services. For some time in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the bank was known by the name HongkongBank in its native city, although it now trades as HSBC. During that period, it also adopted the idiosyncratic practice of calling its ATMs Electronic Teller Card (ETC) machines.
The HSBC Hong Kong headquarters building is located in No 1 Queen's Road Central in the Central district on Hong Kong Island. It was also home to HSBC Holdings plc's headquarters until the latter firm's move to London to meet the requirements of the UK regulatory authorities after the acquisition of the Midland Bank in 1992. It was designed by British architect Norman, Lord Foster, and was the most expensive building in the world based on usable floor area at the time it was built.
Hong Kong dollar bank notes
HSBC is one of the three commercial banks which are authorised to issue banknotes for Hong Kong - the other two being the Bank of China (Hong Kong) and Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong). Of the total notes in circulation measured by value, HSBC is the most prolific issuer, its notes representing 67.7% of those in issue. Hong Kong is unusual in that it is one of the few countries or territories where commercial banks are still permitted to issue their own banknotes.
Other Hong Kong operations
Hang Seng Bank
HSBC acquired a 62.14%, controlling interest in the local Hang Seng Bank in 1965 during a crisis of the latter. The Hang Seng Index for stock prices in Hong Kong is named after the Hang Seng Bank.
Asia Pacific operations
The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation maintains a network of around 600 offices in 20 countries in Asia Pacific, as well as owning of a number of HSBC banks operating in various countries and holding the group's stakes in further lenders, particularly in mainland China.
HSBC started operations in 1996. The bank primarily focuses on urban areas and has branches in most areas of the capital city of Dhaka, it also has branches in the city of Chittagong. The bank also has a good number of ATM booths in the cities present, it also has booths in most five star hotels.
HSBC Bangladesh offers a comprehensive range of financial services such as commercial banking, consumer banking, payments and cash management, trade services, treasury, and custody and clearing. The bank also offers offshore banking in the Export Processing Zones, this is only limited to investors in the EPZs. A special service called NRB Services is also available for non resident Bangladeshis, this service allows consumers to maintain accounts in US Dollars, Pound Sterling and Euros. People using this service can freely remit money from Bangladesh to any part of the world and can access their money from any HSBC booth around the world.
HSBC Bangladesh has a help center which operates on a daily basics. It is one of the very few banks in the country to offer day night banking. It also has begun to support education initiatives for people with disabilities; the bank recently partnered with the Blind Education and Rehabilitation Development Organisation to give scholarships to people with blindness.
On 6 April 2016, HSBC Brunei commenced winding down its operation in Brunei as a part of HSBC Group global review. The bank which comprise retail, commercial and global banking services will no longer take on any new accounts, facilities or business from that date. Employees of the bank have been offered fair redundancy packages. On 9 & 10 November 2017, all HSBC Brunei branches and ATMs had ceased its operations. The remaining accounts were all transferred to the local, Baiduri Bank on the same date.
HSBC established its Shanghai branch office on 3 March 1865 and has had a continuous presence in the city since then, except during the Japanese Occupation. Until the economic reforms of the late 1970s, its activities were mainly in inward remittances and export bills, however its activities now span a wider range.
On 6 August 2004, HSBC announced that it would pay US$1.75 billion for a 19.9% stake in Shanghai-based Bank of Communications. At the time of the announcement, Bank of Communications was China's fifth-largest bank and the investment by HSBC was eight times bigger than any previous foreign investment in a Chinese bank. The industry considered this move, giving HSBC a lead in the race to grab pieces of mainland China's banking market. A year earlier, HSBC had joined with Hong Kong's Shanghai Commercial Bank to purchase an 11% stake in Bank of Shanghai (HSBC paid US$62.6 million for an 8% stake) and US$733 million for a 10% stake in Ping An Insurance.
On 1 April 2007, the mainland China offices of The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation transferred to its subsidiary HSBC Bank (China), and it started operations on 2 April.
In 1959 HSBC acquired The Mercantile Bank of India, London and China, established in October 1853 in Bombay. HSBC is now one of the fastest growing foreign banks in India, both in domestic banking and support operations for worldwide operations (see Group Service Centres).
The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation opened its first Indonesian office in Jakarta in 1884. Having been able to restart its operations after the Second World War, it was again forced to close in the mid-1960s, however the Bank was granted a new banking licence in 1968 its operations have grown to make it one of the largest foreign banks operating in Indonesia.
HSBC opened its first Japan operations in Yokohama in 1866, followed by branches in other trading ports such as Osaka, Kobe and Nagasaki. It was heavily involved in the early development of Japan's current monetary system, and consulted with the government regarding fiscal policy, currency printing and related matters.
HSBC does not conduct ordinary retail banking in Japan, but conducts investment banking in Tokyo and Osaka. Since 2007 it has expanded its HSBC Premier private banking services for the "Mass affluent" market or high-net-worth individual clients. HSBC Premier has seven Premier branches in Japan including centers in the Hiroo, Akasaka, Marunouchi(flagship), Ginza, Yokohama, Ikebukuro, areas of Tokyo and one in Kobe.
In December 2011, HSBC announced to selling its private bank in Japan to Swiss peer Credit Suisse for an undisclosed sum, but at the end of October 2011 the value of the gross assets included in the sale was about $2.7 billion. It was a strategy to cut $3.5 billion annual costs by quitting businesses or countries where it lacks scale which Credit Suisse has a larger business in Japan than HSBC and in line with a global business restructuring it announced that will see it cut 30,000 jobs as it pares back small or inefficient operations.
HSBC's operations in New Zealand are as a branch of The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, which first gained a licence from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand on 22 July 1987. Today HSBC offers a range of financial products from a network of 9 offices.
HSBC's history in the Philippines dates back more than 110 years with the establishment of their first branch no. 90 Rosario Street (Now Quintin Paredes Street) in Binondo, Manila in 1875. In its early years of operation, HSBC serviced the booming Philippine sugar industry. At the turn of the century, it financed railways that connected provincial towns across Luzon to Manila. During the American regime, HSBC was called to advise on Philippine currency reform. Its current headquarters are in Fort Bonifacio. Today, HSBC Philippines operates in key Philippine cities such as Cebu and Davao. It has ended Citibank and Standard Chartered's duopoly on international banking in the Philippines.
In Singapore, The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited operates as a full service bank with its headquarters in Collyer Quay. It opened its doors in December 1877. In 2016, HSBC has created a locally incorporated bank in Singapore and has moved its retail and wealth business from HSBC Singapore Branch to the locally incorporated bank. Today, HSBC's flagship office remains at the original Collyer Quay site where its first branch was opened. Its main office is located at Mapletree Business City in Pasir Panjang, HarbourFront.
HSBC Singapore is a Qualifying Full Bank and offers a comprehensive range of financial services including commercial banking, investment and private banking, insurance, forfaiting and trustee services, and securities and capital markets services.
HSBC has been present in Sri Lanka for 120 years. The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited established its first branch in Colombo Sri Lanka on 1 July 1892, just 27 years after it began operating in Hong Kong and Shanghai. It has established itself as one of the largest and most profitable banks operating in the country. It has achieved leadership in Corporate Banking, Capital Markets and Credit Card issuance.
HSBC's presence in Taiwan dates back to 1885 when The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation appointed an agent in Tamsui. A full service branch was established in Taipei in 1984. The bank now has a network of 8 branches (Hyperlink to service channel) nationwide, including Taipei, Jianguo, Banqiao, Tianmu, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung. In 2007, The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation acquired The Chinese Bank in Taiwan. The acquisition made HSBC's nationwide branch network increase to 47.
HSBC initially opened for business in Thailand in 1888, becoming the first commercial bank in the country. HSBC has made significant contributions to the establishment of solid foundations for Thailand's financial and banking sectors. For example, in 1889 HSBC issued the first banknotes in Thailand. HSBC also issued the first foreign loan to the Thai government for its railroad construction project. HSBC's main branch office in Thailand is situated in Bangkok on Rama IV Road opposite Lumpini Park. In 2011, Phase 2 of the new Financial Sector Master Plan allowed foreign banks to open up to two branches in the Kingdom of Thailand in preparation for full retail operations. Accordingly, a second branch was opened on Thonglor (Sukhumvit 55) in early 2011.
In January 2012 HSBC announced the sale of its Thailand retail banking operations to the Krungsri Group (Bank of Ayudhya) and its intention to maintain only corporate banking business in Thailand. Its 2 retail branches will be closed in March and June 2012 respectively.
In Vietnam, HSBC first opened an office in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) in 1870. In August 1995, HSBC opened a full-service branch in Ho Chi Minh City. In 2005, HSBC also opened its second branch in Hanoi and established a representative office in Can Tho.
On 29 December 2005, HSBC acquired 10% share capital of Vietnam Technological and Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Techcombank), one of the largest joint stock commercial banks in Vietnam by equity. In July 2007, HSBC became the first foreign bank to increase its stake in Techcombank to 15%. In September 2008, HSBC completed the increase of its stake in Techcombank to 20%, became the first foreign bank in Vietnam to hold a 20% interest in a domestic bank.
In September 2007, HSBC acquired 10% share capital of Bao Viet Holdings, becoming the sole foreign strategic partner of Vietnam's leading insurance company. In October 2009, HSBC signed an agreement to increase its shareholding in Bao Viet Holdings to 18% from 10% for VND1.88 trillion (approximately US$105.3 million).
On 1 January 2009, HSBC started operating its locally incorporated entity and became the first foreign bank to incorporate in Vietnam, after gaining approval from the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) to set up a Wholly Foreign-Owned Bank (WFOB) in Vietnam in September 2008.
In Hong Kong, the local population sometimes refers to the bank as 獅子銀行, "the Lion Bank", after the pair of lion sculptures outside the bank's headquarters, which also appear in some banknotes. Local films and television series set in Hong Kong, especially comedies, use this nickname when referring to the bank.
Although the Hong Kong Government changed the official spelling of "Hongkong" to "Hong Kong", by the instructions of the Secretary of State for the Colonies, on 3 September 1926, HSBC uses the older Hongkong, as the bank's name was conceived before the official declaration of the modern two-word name, and it was decided to retain the single word spelling in the Bank's name: Hongkong.
The famous English humorist P. G. Wodehouse was a junior employee at the Bank's London office in Lombard Street from 1900 to 1902, and used the bank as an inspiration for some of his early work, especially his 1910 novel Psmith in the City.
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