HSBC, Europe's biggest bank, said on Thursday it expects its wealth
management assets and customers in Taiwan to double this year, as it embarks on a campaign to expand the business.
"Taiwan has been a priority and we have very high expectations for
this business," Betty Miao, senior vice president and head of personal financial services, told reporters at a news conference, where she gave the forecasts.
She declined to say how many wealth management clients HSBC has in Taiwan, or the company's total Taiwan assets. HSBC said last month it expected to remain profitable in Taiwan in 2008, with its acquisition of a local rival helping it access more clients in Asia's
third-largest wealth management market.
HSBC, which followed global rivals Citigroup, Standard Chartered and ABN AMRO to acquire a Taiwan bank, will focus on expanding two competitive but profitable businesses: wealth management and
small-medium enterprises (SMEs) investing in China.
By midday on Thursday, HSBC's shares had dropped 0.76 per cent, while the benchmark Hang Seng Index was down 1.74 per cent.
For its operations in Taiwan, HSBC had posted a pretax profit of
T$2.56 billion (Dh290 million) in the January-October period, according to Taiwan government data. Rival Citibank earned T$12.18 billion (Dh1.4 billion) during the same period in Taiwan, the data showed.
Taiwan has attracted foreign firms, including the world's top wealth
manager UBS and biggest US insurer AIG, as the island's affluent
population only lags Japan and China in Asia.
A major part of the wealth comes from the SMEs of Taiwan, the biggest foreign investor in mainland China, prompting most global banks to set up a "Taiwan desk" to serve these clients. (Reuters)
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