Founded: 3 March 1865
Headquartered in: London, United Kingdom
Did you know?
- By 1884, HSBC was handling half of the Government of Singapore’s money deposited in silver.
- In Singapore, the bank got its right to issue banknotes first in 1881. These notes were used by local traders for making transactions.
- The bank played a leading role in reconstruction of post-war Singapore and by 1948, it was handling 35% of the country’s trade and foreign exchange activities.
- In Singapore, HSBC introduced the first computerised accounting system in 1971, and the first automatic cash dispenser in 1972.
- From the late 1990s, HSBC started to sponsor the Jaguar Formula 1 team.
The Hongkong and Shanghai Corporation Banking Corporation Limited started its journey on 3 March 1865 with its first office in Hong Kong and its second office in Shanghai, a month later. It was the first locally owned and managed bank. Its founder – Sir Thomas Sutherland – had sown an idea from which the whole concept blossomed – a global bank with a local touch.
The visionary founder of the bank, while working for the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company realised that there was a demand for banking in the region including the China Coast and Hong Kong.
Over the next few years, the emphasis was on consolidation and expansion into various regions including Europe and North America. HSBC became the first bank to be established in Thailand in 1888. It is also credited for printing the first banknotes for the country. The bank handled China’s first public loan in the year 1874 and handled most such loans thereafter.
Trade and corporate banking continues to be the core strength of the bank which began with note issuing, supporting merchant trading activities, and handling bullion exchange activities.
After the acquisition of UK’s Midland Bank, HSBC moved its global headquarters to London. During the 1980s and the 1990s, the bank made a series of strategic acquisitions and mergers to expedite its growth in Europe, North America, and other key territories.
After 150 years, the bank has managed to eke out a significant presence in 67 countries and territories. Today, the bank is known as an equal-opportunity employer and it continues to inspire and support the aspirations of millions around the world.
The first branch of HSBC was set up in Singapore in 1877. The roots can be traced back to 1865, however, when the bank first started its operations in the island state through an agency. The bank also became a part of the local business/commerce chamber soon after its entry into the country.
During the early part of the 20th century, the bank was one of the largest financiers of rubber and tin businesses. By 1918, rubber constituted almost 35% of the total export revenue in Singapore and much of this business was funded by HSBC.
The bank played a major role in the reconstruction of the country after the Second World War and became the principal player in the field of foreign exchange and trade activities. During this period, the bank also expanded its branch network to satisfy the needs of the fast-growing suburban population and to sophisticate its banking operations and facilities.
With the acquisition of the Mercantile Bank in 1959, HSBC became one of the largest foreign financial institutions in East Asia and Singapore.
During the 1960s and 1970s, the bank repositioned itself in the market to mainly finance large-scale important and export activities in the country. During the 1970s, the bank also started to focus more and more on improvement of its customer services and ease of doing business.
As a result, it brought in a number of technological innovations to support its focus on customer-centricity.
Today the organisation continues to innovate and enhance the effectiveness of its customer-focused services. It’s focus on sustainable business practices have also been lauded across various quarters. The bank is also betting big on digitisation and continues to make changes to its business structure and model to adapt better to a digital economy.
HSBC remains headquartered at the original Collyer Quay site where the first branch in the country was set up.
Today, HSBC has approximately 3,900 offices around the world. It also operates in 67 countries and serves around 38 million customers. The bank employs 229,000 people worldwide. Business is transacted in 144 different languages.
The company reported a gross profit of US$17.2 billion in 2017 and paid shareholder dividend of US$10.2 billion during the corresponding period.
As per the bank’s 2016 annual report, the bank facilitated around US$500 billion of trade annually. The commercial banking vertical of the bank is present in 53 countries and territories and has disbursed US$282 billion of loans to businesses in 2016.
HSBC is listed on the New York, London, Hong Kong, Bermuda, and Paris stock exchanges. It has over 200,000 shareholders spread across 131 countries and territories.
The key performance indicators of the overall performance of HSBC Holdings Plc. as mentioned in the group’s 2017 annual report are as follows:
HSBC has won some prestigious awards over the years. Here are some of the notable ones won by it in the recent past:
In 2017, the group invested US$136 million in CSR activities around the world. The bank had also donated US$128 million in 2016, US$136 million in 2015, and US$104 million in 2014.
In Singapore too, the bank continues to support social initiatives and affirmative discrimination activities in order to support its mission to eradicate poverty and increase prosperity. Some of the recent notable moves made by the bank in this regard are:
In 2015, the employees of HSBC Singapore supported by the bank, donated a substantial portion to the charity funds managed by Straits Times and Business Times. The cheques were handed over to the respective organisations at the HSBC Children’s Festive Party.
The donation totalled S$554,448.98. The aim was to provide affordable and effective education to disadvantaged children to improve their future prospects.
On its 2017 Corporate Sustainability Night, the bank had managed to raise S$242,000. This money was distributed equally among the two funds that HSBC has been supporting for years. This fundraising activity was marked by a Scale the Heights event at the Masons.
In June 2018, 700 HSBC employees and customers joined forces to improve the living conditions of children born in poverty. The bank along with its corporate partners also contributed S$225,000 to support the cause of quality education of disadvantaged children. This was done to mark the HSBC Corporate Responsibility - All in a Day’s Work event.
In 2017, as a part of the same event, almost 300 HSBC employees had come together to improve the living conditions of underprivileged children. The bank had also raised more than S$150,000 to support the education of other disadvantaged children in the local communities.
HSBC has recently gone live with PayNow Corporate, a service that allows payments to be made in a fast and secure manner without the need for acquiring bank details from intended beneficiaries. Till now, this peer-to-peer funds transfer service was available to retail customers only.
With the introduction of this service, businesses can make corporate-to-corporate payments by simply using the Unique Entity Number (UEN) registered with PayNow. They can also make corporate-to-individual payments by using an individual’s registered NRIC or mobile number. Additionally, customers can make instant payments directly to a company’s UEN, registered with PayNow.
Instant payments can be made by scanning QR codes. A company can then use the payment information embedded in a QR code to reconcile the payment. Many believe that this service could be a shot in the arm for Singapore’s digital economy.
Corporate houses can also improve their business efficiencies and reduce cost redundancies because this payment system offers a simplified system of sending funds, receiving funds, and reconciling the receivables with their ledger records. It can also help businesses simplify the payment experience for their customers.
Since its launch last year, this payment app has been adopted by more than a million Singaporean residents and have seen funds transfer of more than S$900 million.
Apart from HSBC, DBS/POSB, Citi, UOB, Standard Chartered Bank, and Maybank, are also offering this service.
31 August 2018
According to a global HSBC report, entrepreneurs in Singapore are hands-on in their approach towards their business but aren’t averse to trying their luck at side businesses or ventures outside their core business interests. Many have a business exit in mind without having a proper strategy to depend on.
This new finding has been published in this report from HSBC Private Banking which researched ambitions and views of more than 3,700 entrepreneurs from 11 countries.
According to the report, 36% of the entrepreneurs in the country are actively involved in the business they started, 53% are shareholders in business ventures outside their core interests, and 37% said that they tapped into venture capital networks for new opportunities.
The report has also shown that despite this opportunistic nature, most entrepreneurs put the interest of their family before everything else. While 33% said that they sought financial security from their business for themselves and their families, almost 75% said that environmental and social concerns are relevant to them and their business plans.
11 July 2018
HSBC has recently announced that it plans to extend its sponsorship of HSBC Women’s World Championship, an important event in the Women’s LPGA calendar, till 2020. Often known as “Asia’s major”, this event will return to Sentosa Golf Club, Singapore in March 2019. The event underwent rechristening this year. After 10 years as HSBC Women’s Champions, the event is now known as HSBC Women’s World Championship. Michelle Wie won the last edition, her first since U.S. Women’s Open in 2014. The participating stakeholders have pledged their commitment to the event and have vowed to make it more exciting and engaging for everyone - players, spectators, and fans.
3 July 2018
HSBC Singapore has recently introduced Jade to offer a differentiated experience to high networth individuals who bank with them. Customers who deposit at least S$1.2 million in cash or other investments with the bank will receive personalised investment solutions, advisory services, and a top-class, round-the-clock concierge service. Investors and depositors with significant wealth but relative inexperience in matters of investment and wealth expansion, are expected to be the primary targets of the bank in the region, which has already seen a big jump in affluence and personal wealth in the last few years.
28 June 2018
HSBC has announced that it has successfully integrated MyInfo, a government-created vault of personal information into its digital credit card application process. This will eliminate the need for applicants to submit IDs and other supporting documents when applying for HSBC cards through their personal computing and mobile devices. This means that applicants will not only have a consistent experience across all onboarding channels but also enjoy a faster approval. According to the bank, this will not only reduce the time taken to fill up an application form but also improve the quality of customer data the bank receives because data will be populated into relevant fields directly from MyInfo.
28 May 2018