H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Chairman of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation, has led the inauguration of HSBC UAE’s new headquarters in Downtown Dubai in a ceremony to officially open one of the world’s most sustainable buildings.
The US$250 million HSBC Tower, one of the most technologically advanced in the HSBC Group, accommodates innovation labs, a university, training studios and collaboration hubs and has secured the coveted Gold Standard for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) from the Green Building Council.
The enabling power of technology is something HSBC UAE CEO and Group General Manager Abdulfattah Sharaf sees at work every day at HSBC Tower, which houses 236,000-square feet of agile workspace and fosters the atmosphere of innovation that the bank needs to be front and centre of everything its 3,000-strong workforce does to deliver for its clients.
"Whether that’s reinventing customer experience, creating a more agile working environment, promoting smart, efficient and sustainable ways of doing business, and innovating to deliver products and services that meet constantly evolving market needs, this building helps make it all possible," says Sharaf, who is also the Head of International for HSBC in MENAT.
Since opening its first branch in Dubai in 1946 – the very first bank in what subsequently became the UAE – HSBC has played a significant role in the country’s economic and social development.
Investing in the purpose-built HSBC Tower is a reflection of the bank’s commitment to that heritage – by setting new standards for its people, changing the way they work, and sharpening their focus on customers – and its ambitions to further build on it, according to HSBC Group Chief Executive, John Flint.
"In our global strategy announced in June 2018 we identified the UAE as one of our eight scale markets including Hong Kong and the UK," said Flint, who attended the inauguration ceremony alongside government representatives, the Bank’s local and regional leadership team, and invited customers.
"Markets like the UAE represent HSBC’s future, where we want to invest and grow, bringing more of HSBC to more people because we see opportunity here, not just for us, but for our customers all over the world. We firmly believe the economic miracle that we’ve seen here is just the start of something much, much bigger," Flint added.
HSBC’s strategy is based around the UAE’s role as a leader in the Middle East’s ambitious economic diversification and transformation agenda, and the track record the country has in delivering growth in numerous sectors of the economy, including trade and infrastructure, to tourism and retail.
With technology enabling proactive banks to do things differently, digitization is a key pillar of HSBC’s drive for business growth from both corporate and retail customers.
Through its Commercial Banking and Global Banking & Markets businesses, HSBC intends to help corporates, institutions and multinationals achieve their growth ambitions. It also aims to grow market share in Retail Banking & Wealth Management by focusing on specific customer segments such as UAE Nationals and expatriates who envisage a long-term stay in the country.
HSBC Tower embodies an entirely new way of working for staff in a building that leverages artificial intelligence, machine learning, biometrics, and blockchain innovation.
Globally, HSBC has unveiled plans to invest US$15-17 billion between now and 2020 in a new push for growth, with technology one of its primary focuses. This comes on top of US$6 billion invested in recent years to improve efficiency, accelerate transaction times and give customers more flexibility.
"We put our customers at the centre of process re-engineering and product development," Sharaf says. "Cloud technology, artificial intelligence and other digital innovations are reshaping the business landscape and we are helping deliver that change."
At the inauguration ceremony, HSBC also unveiled the digitised Customer Service Unit, located on the ground floor of the new building, with state-of-the-art interactive touchscreens, tablets, smart watches, video conferencing and instant account opening capability.
HSBC’s new building is designed with sustainability and wellness in mind.
LEED certified buildings use 25% less energy and 40% less water than a normal building, which contributes towards increased environmental performance. This reflects HSBC’s global sustainability strategy and priorities.
The new building includes a gym, studio space for yoga classes, a reflection room, an outdoor terrace and a number of vibrant coffee shops and restaurants.
In a celebration of the diversity of its employees and to draw attention to the importance of well-being, a total of people from the bank’s UAE staff from countries joined together to set the GUINNESS WORLD RECORD title for the "Most Nationalities in a Static Cycle Relay".
"This achievement is a celebration of the diversity of the global banking talent at HSBC – both Emiratis and international staff – and the ambitions we have to continue to help make history here in the UAE, by building an environment in which our people can be the best they can be," Sharaf said.