HSBC Seeks To Build Asia Prime Brokerage In China

May 17 2012 | 10:13am ET

When it comes to building its prime brokerage business, the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp.—better known as HSBC—isn't looking too far afield.

The bank said it plans to target China's growing hedge fund market as it seeks to sign clients up to its year-old prime brokerage business. HSBC said it plans to use its strength in custody and administration services to become the leading prime broker in its home region.

China is "a massive target and it's one where we've been very successful in the early stages of our business," Matt Kiraly, head of prime services sales in the region, told AsianInvestor. "If you look at the prime brokerages [in Asia], you have U.S. prime brokers, European prime brokers; there are no Asia prime brokers. This is HSBC's backyard and our seat to fill."

"What we want is to have a client who is both a prime client and a fund administration client, which further solidifies their relationship with the firm."

HSBC launched its prime services business in Europe early last year, expanding to Asia in the middle of last year. Earlier this month, it hired former Merrill Lynch Asian prime brokerage chief Melvyn Ford to lead its own business in the region.

While it is currently focused on China, HSBC doesn't plan to ignore the world's largest hedge fund market: A U.S. prime brokerage is planned, although Ford did not reveal a timeframe for its launch.

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