WEALTH MANAGEMENT | Cesar Tordesillas, Hong Kong

HSBC segregates banking from investment services

HSBC is implementing new measures at its branches to segregate its general banking service areas from investment service areas. This is in line with new investor protection recommendations from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. The new measures encompass clear zoning at HSBC branches between general banking and investment service areas.

In a phased roll-out, three HSBC branches of various sizes will introduce the new segregated arrangements. The pilot branches are Hopewell Centre Branch on Queen's Road East in Wan Chai, Central Branch on Pedder Street in Central and Lyndhurst Terrace Branch, also in Central. Full implementation of the new measures at HSBC's branches across the territory is expected to be completed by the end of September this year.

"HSBC strongly supports the HKMA's various recommended measures to enhance investor protection in the territory. In addition to implementing the recommended physical segregation of general banking areas and investment service areas in branches, we have also introduced a number of other HKMA-recommended initiatives, including the audio recording of sales processes in our branches. I am pleased to report, we are ahead of the HKMA timetable for both initiatives," commented Peter Wong, Executive Director of The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited.

The HKMA has recommended the segregation of general and investment banking services be introduced by 1 October this year and the recording of sales activities with customers by 1 July this year.

At the HSBC branches, the proportion of general banking and investment service areas will depend on the floor space and configuration of each branch. In general, 50 to 80 percent of the meeting rooms or sales booths inside HSBC branches will be allocated for investment and wealth management services.

Investment areas within HSBC branches will be clearly demarcated with prominent "Investment Centre" signage. Inside the Investment Centre, all sales booths will carry new "Investment Centre" graphic images on interior panels. The meeting rooms inside the sales zone will be similarly labeled. Different designs will be used for the general banking and investment service areas to make sure that customers can easily differentiate the two zones. As an extra measure on top of HKMA’s recommendations, HSBC staff members will also wear name badges and lanyards in different colours, with clear labeling, to indicate whether they provide general banking or wealth management services.

Mr Wong said: "We believe the segregation and differentiation measures taken by HSBC will enhance investor protection. We have initiated a series of enhancements to promote investor protection and confidence, including the audio recording of sales, enhanced risk assessment processes and stringent monitoring of sales and risk disclosure procedures."

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