Uni­ver­sal Banker

HSBC’S new re­gional head of global pri­vate bank­ing, Tan Siew Meng, brings a unique per­spec­tive to the role

Hong Kong Tatler - - Private Bankong -

Tan Siew Meng is no or­di­nary pri­vate banker. HSBC’S new re­gional head of global pri­vate bank­ing for the Asia-pa­cific has spent more than 30 years deal­ing with cor­po­rate clients and busi­ness own­ers across Asia, and brings to the role an in­ti­mate un­der­stand­ing of the prac­ti­cal is­sues they face on a day-to-day ba­sis.

From start­ing out in cor­po­rate bank­ing in Sin­ga­pore to run­ning HSBC’S re­gional trade fi­nance busi­ness, she has spent most of her ca­reer deal­ing di­rectly with en­trepreneurs and de­ci­sion-mak­ers. Hav­ing helped them grow their busi­nesses, she is now fo­cused on help­ing them grow and pro­tect their pri­vate wealth.

“When you’re grant­ing a com­mer­cial loan it’s about un­der­stand­ing the client’s busi­ness and where their risk comes,” she says. “After all these years of work­ing very closely with clients and help­ing them, we be­come a part­ner. Through our dili­gence in get­ting to know how their busi­ness works, we pro­tect our­selves and we pro­tect them as well. That’s my back­ground.”

Tan joined HSBC 13 years ago in the global bank­ing busi­ness in Sin­ga­pore, pro­vid­ing fi­nan­cial ser­vices and prod­ucts to multi­na­tional cor­po­ra­tions, large lo­cal busi­nesses and Te­masek- and gov­ern­ment-linked com­pa­nies. Hav­ing de­vel­oped strong re­la­tion­ships in that role, she moved on to run­ning the com­mer­cial bank­ing busi­ness in Sin­ga­pore and from there she was pro­moted to her first coun­try-head role as chief ex­ec­u­tive for Mau­ri­tius, an im­por­tant off­shore fi­nan­cial cen­tre, and then chief ex­ec­u­tive for Thai­land, home to some of South­east Asia’s most suc­cess­ful busi­nesses and en­trepreneurs. This im­pres­sive ca­reer path led to her most re­cent po­si­tion as Asia-pa­cific re­gional head of trade fi­nance—a busi­ness that HSBC dom­i­nates glob­ally—and, in Jan­uary, to her cur­rent role at HSBC Pri­vate Bank­ing.

This is not the con­ven­tional route to the se­nior ranks of one of the world’s big­gest pri­vate banks— HSBC Pri­vate Bank­ing has US$298 bil­lion of to­tal client as­sets un­der man­age­ment glob­ally—but Asia is not the typ­i­cal pri­vate bank­ing mar­ket. A large pro­por­tion of the bank’s pri­vate clients in Asia are first- or sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion wealth cre­ators whose busi­nesses have long re­la­tion­ships with HSBC, or who work in se­nior po­si­tions at ma­jor global cor­po­ra­tions that bank with HSBC.

Growth An­other char­ac­ter­is­tic of Asia is that the re­gion is still cre­at­ing wealth at a faster rate than any­where else in the world and con­tin­ues to offer at­trac­tive growth op­por­tu­ni­ties un­der­pinned by strong do­mes­tic de­mand, pos­i­tive struc­tural re­form progress, mone­tary and fis­cal eas­ing, and favourable de­mo­graph­ics. As a re­sult, Asian busi­nesses are re­silient to cycli­cal volatil­ity in the global econ­omy.

“Wealth is grow­ing at a sin­gle-digit rate glob­ally, but in Asia we’re see­ing dou­ble-digit growth,” says Tan. “This ac­cu­mu­la­tion of wealth is com­ing from en­trepreneurs whose busi­nesses are grow­ing very well, so there’s a lot of op­por­tu­nity—and it plays to our strengths.”

HSBC’S edge is a uni­ver­sal bank­ing plat­form that lever­ages its dom­i­nant foot­print in the re­gion, par­tic­u­larly in the cor­po­rate bank­ing world that Tan has such a deep con­nec­tion to. The group has spent close to a decade de­vel­op­ing a cul­ture of col­lab­o­ra­tion across its plat­form—re­tail, com­mer­cial, in­vest­ment and pri­vate bank­ing—to make sure that its group-con­nected clients are of­fered a seam­less ser­vice that meets all their bank­ing and fi­nan­cial needs.

“It sounds very sim­ple, but it takes time to get it to work,” says Tan. “The goal is to make sure that we know the clients as well as pos­si­ble and that we’re sup­port­ing them fully.”

Next Gen­er­a­tion Part of that sup­port means pro­vid­ing guid­ance to fam­i­lies, and es­pe­cially the next gen­er­a­tion.

“We are well po­si­tioned to help those first­gen­er­a­tion en­trepreneurs who need ad­vice on how to pass on their wealth,” says Tan. “But we are also there for the fam­ily mem­bers who will in­herit that wealth. Our Next Gen­er­a­tion pro­gramme gives younger fam­ily mem­bers the op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore and de­bate their fu­ture roles as fam­ily lead­ers,

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