It was officially announced on Wednesday, that the British bank HSBC was preparing to close its activity in Monaco, which seems to be losing attractiveness for some international banking groups.
The private banking branch of HSBC, based in Switzerland, let it be known that their clients would be redirected to Monaco CFM Indosuez Wealth Management, a financial institution owned in majority by French Bank Credit Agricole. This agreement represents a clientele with a total value of $ 9 billion of assets and approximately 200 collaborators.
Following the restructuring objectives being put into place since 2011 on all its global operations, this announcement is the latest one. The move is an attempt by HSBC’s chief executive, Stuart Gulliver, to reduce the financial and reputational risks facing the bank, which formerly had dealings with customers in 150 countries around the world. That has now been reduced to 50 countries, with the private bank refocusing on major centres in London, New York, Geneva, Singapore and Hong Kong.The Monaco branch which was acquired in 1999, no longer reflects the main focal point of the group, which is on families and subsidiaries of the business customers of the group.
Monaco has long been a fertile ground for private banks, who have benefitted from the income tax break that drained a number of billionaires and other wealthy people in the principality. However, a number of banks, such as Credit Suisse and Lloyds Banking Group, have left Monaco in recent years to focus on other countries. HSBC’s activity in the Principality has also attracted bad publicity earlier this year, with the scandal of the “Panama Papers”, under which HSBC would have helped some of its Monegasque customers to develop hundreds of offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands and other tax havens.
With this new planned departure, it would be interesting to see what Monaco will be offering in terms of attracting or alluring new private banking institutions to the Principality, or is this something that doesn’t affect the global vision.