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04 March 2024

Balloonist helps HSBC target Gulf clients

By Matt Smith

(SATISH KUMAR)             



HSBC has teamed up with record-breaking balloonist Bertrand Piccard to deliver its corporate message to wealthy Gulf clients.


The Swiss adventurer (pictured above) is the first man to circumnavigate the globe in a hot air balloon and comes from a long line of explorers and scientists.


The link between private banking and hot air ballooning may appear tenuous, but Stuart Crocker, HSBC private bank chief executive, insists Piccard’s talks have energised the bank’s wealthy clients.


“It was a mind blowing experience, because it made them realised there are a lot of things they need to do in terms of investments and their personal life,” Crocker said.  “It helped convince them that they need to move away from their comfort zone.


“The way Bertrand speaks, it makes you take a fresh look at your life and realise that sometimes it’s better to take a step back in order to find a solution to a problem,” said Crocker.


“As a private banker, I can deliver this message to our clients but they don’t always listen, but when it comes from Bertrand the effect is amazing.”


After spending an hour in Bertand’s company it is hard to disagree, with the 50-year-old infectious enthusiasm and upbeat mantras far removed from the usual corporate speak of business.


“Doubts and the unknown are not dangers, they are stimulations for creativity,” said 49-year-old explorer Bertrand.


“Avoid being certain of your doubts and doubt all your certainties if you want to be successful.


“When we don’t know what to do, we need to be able to think of the opposite of what we normally do.


“This doesn’t mean the opposite way is better, but it provides at least two views of the same problem.


“This is true in politics and finance – we cannot obtain the entire truth from just one party or one financial tool.


“The biggest dangers in life are habits and certainties because these leave us unprepared to cope outside our comfort zone and life by definition pushes us into the unknown.”