Can you identify three clear changes in regional retail banking over the past five years?
The past five years have been a period of intense development across the banking industry globally, including here in the economies of the Middle East and particularly in the Gulf Cooperation Council area. Those developments have primarily been driven by greater global connectivity, itself spurred by increased digital innovation, which in many respects responds to rising demand for wealth management solutions that give customers access to a full range of international investment opportunities and an ability to make those investment choices where they want, when they want, and whether on mobile or on desktop devices. These stand out to me as some of the most obvious changes our industry has seen and that’s certainly where we, at HSBC, have been investing to respond to those trends and meet the needs of our customers.
Are you expecting any noticeable developments in regional retail banking services in 2023?
We have an ambitious agenda for the coming year. We’ll be unveiling new capabilities for our customers, building on the success of our Global Money Account that gives customers the ability to hold, manage and send 21 different currencies directly from their mobile phones. This captures the essence of what HSBC’s strategic goal to “digitise at scale” means for our wealth and personal banking business, particularly bearing in the mind the trends already mentioned regarding international connectivity, digitisation and wealth management.
What key activities are you pursuing to enhance customer engagement?
We are focused on delivering value and best in class service for our customers, ensuring they get access to accessible, user-friendly products and services that fit their needs. We achieve this by listening to and learning from feedback at various stages of individual customer journeys to ensure we are constantly adapting and optimising customer experience to provide relevant, timely support.
One example of how this has worked in practice is the investment we’ve made in streamlining processes for when a customer changes bank or opens an account on arrival in a new country – we’ve acted to take the stress and the complexity as far as possible.
How are you adapting to the increasingly diverse competitive retail banking environment?
Banking has always been a competitive business, and I believe HSBC is well positioned to handle the arrival of new players and to invest to keep us at the forefront of developments in wealth and personal banking. Our established heritage in the Middle East, where our origins date back to 1889, our international footprint that covers more than 90% of global financial flows, and our investments to ensure we are great place to work and a great place to bank, all combine to attract great talent. There are very few truly global financial organisations. Today we have close to five million customers with relationships in more than one country, and our aspirations are to double that number in the coming years. The global trends of international connectivity, digitisation and wealth management are especially evident in this region, which makes the road ahead one that is full of opportunity.