Competition for cross-border European financial advice has heated up with the news that HSBC Bank In...
Competition for cross-border European financial advice has heated up with the news that HSBC Bank International is opening an associate office in Malta in order to provide independent financial advice.
Competing with intermediaries across the European Union, the Malta base will complement HSBC's existing representative offices staffed by financial planners in Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Africa.
With its headquarters in Jersey, HSBC Bank International, which has customers in 207 countries, has not previously been able to provide regulated independent advice to EU residents. Customers living in the EU, however, have been able to visit the Jersey office.
However, Neville Benbow, senior business manager of HSBC Bank International, said that HSBC International Financial Advisers (Malta) will be able to passport financial advice throughout the EU.
He added that this is independent financial advice so therefore advisers can recommend non-HSBC products.
"As Malta joined the EU in May last year, the new office gives us the opportunity to visit customers based in Europe. This is crucial because face-to-face advice is important to many customers," he said.
He explained that the Malta office will initially be staffed by four financial advisers who will be advising both EU nationals and expatriate customers.
"We believe Malta is an excellent location for the new office," says Benbow. "It has a sound regulatory framework, which is important because reputational risk is everything to HSBC, and it has good links with the continent."
HSBC Bank already has an office on the island.
This is the latest expansion for HBSC International Financial Advisers. "There are now around 25 employees in Hong Kong and more than 20 in Dubai," Benbow said.
He argued that HSBC is successfully competing with brokers because of its size, "the ability of customers to deal with us 365 days a year, 24 hours a day and the fact that, as a group, we have some 10,000 offices in 80 countries".
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