HSBC has boosted its ranks with 300 private bankers in Asia this year in line with its regional plan of adding 700 people by 2022 from a headcount of 1,100 at the end of 2017.
"The strategy to achieve double-digit asset and revenue growth is working," António Simões, newly appointed global head of private banking at HSBC, told Reuters. "And as part of that, Asia is by far the region that is growing the most," he added.
Global wealth managers looking to grow in China - where HSBC's unit is present onshore in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou - continue to consider an offshore business as the preferred route due to regulatory restrictions on investment products and a lack of sizeable physical branch networks.
If you take a 10-year view, we will need to be bigger in onshore China"
"Going forward, we want to be bigger in onshore China and we are looking at how to do that as regulations change," Simões said. "If you take a 10-year view, we will need to be bigger in onshore China."
The country recently made a landmark decision to remove ownership limits for businesses operating in the sector which has attracted foreign wealth managers to take advantage of the opportunity including Swiss rival UBS.
Asia currently represents the largest share of the bank's overall revenue and accounts for 42% of its private banking assets. And despite unprecedented unrest from its key market in Hong Kong, the bank still posted a 9.4% and 4.6% year-on-year rise in assets and revenue, respectively.
"Our third-quarter results showed very resilient performance for Hong Kong against the backdrop of what's happening," Simões said, stressing that the broader China business was unaffected. "From a private banking perspective, we continue to have targets for Hong Kong that are very ambitious."