HSBC to close part of New Zealand operations

HSBC (HSBA.L) announced on Tuesday its decision to wind down its wealth and personal banking operations in New Zealand, as part of its strategy to exit less profitable ventures worldwide and concentrate on expanding in select Asian markets. The bank outlined that this process, following a thorough strategic review, will be implemented gradually over the course of several years.

Citing the changing operating requirements in the market and the limited scalability of the business, HSBC, headquartered in London, expressed its inability to justify further investment into the New Zealand segment. Nonetheless, the bank assured its customers and staff that it would support them in transitioning to alternative providers of personal and wealth services. According to a bank spokesperson, operations will proceed as usual in the upcoming months.

The decision to withdraw from the New Zealand market follows HSBC’s earlier announcement last year regarding the review of its retail banking business in the country, potentially leading to a sale. New Zealand now joins the list of markets from which the dual-listed London and Hong Kong bank is strategically retreating.

To focus on its expansion in Asia, HSBC is currently examining the possibility of exiting around one-fifth of the markets it operates in, as highlighted by Chief Financial Officer Georges Elhedery in an interview with Reuters in May. Notably, the bank has already initiated the planned sale of its businesses in France, Greece, Russia, and Canada. However, HSBC emphasized that it remains committed to its wholesale banking operations in New Zealand, primarily catering to international clients in commercial banking, financial institutions, government services, as well as markets and securities services businesses.

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