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HSBC Singapore ramping up investment for consumer and wholesale business, hiring 300 more

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HSBC is ramping up its Singapore operations to grab a bigger share of the consumer and wholesale banking business.

Under a new three-year country plan, the UK-based banking giant will be hiring an additional 300 people as it aims to significantly increase market share, said Tony Cripps, HSBC Singapore chief executive.

On Friday, HSBC officially launched its latest retail banking branch in the heart of the financial district, Raffles Place, marking a shift towards increased financial advisory activities within its 11 branches in Singapore.

The Raffles Place launch "signals HSBC's intention to increase investment into Singapore across its consumer and wholesale banking businesses as part of a new three-year country plan", the bank said in a statement.

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Singapore is one of the priority markets for HSBC, said Mr Cripps.

"HSBC will be investing in increasing headcount, systems and capability across our retail, private banking and institutional banking businesses," he added.

"Over the coming years, HSBC is looking to add headcount of around 10 per cent from the current 3,000 base in Singapore," he said.

The 10 per cent increase in headcount over the next three years will be mainly for its retail, commercial, private bank and innovation businesses.

By customer accounts, Singapore is the group's third largest in Asia behind Hong Kong and mainland China.

In terms of profit before tax for 2017, Singapore was the fourth largest contributor in Asia behind Hong Kong, mainland China and India.

Singapore is the centre of activity for Asean, and the bank's plan is anchored in supporting the macro-economic and structural developments in the region.

"HSBC has operated in Singapore for 140 years, and it remains a priority market for us globally," said Mr Cripps.

"We are entering a new growth phase and hope to play a critical role in supporting Singapore's ambition to be the leading wealth and trade hub of the region. The opening of the Raffles Place branch is a very visible demonstration of our renewed focus to grow our business in the Singapore market," he added.

In addition to growing its consumer and private banking business, the bank will also focus on supporting the infrastructure and sustainable development of Asean and getting a bigger share of the rising trade and investment flows moving to Asean. HSBC intends to support Asean firms and corporates using Singapore as a hub for international expansion.

According to HSBC's estimates, more than US$2.1 trillion of infrastructure is needed across the major six Asean markets (Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines) but only US$910 million of government funding is currently available.

Singapore plays a crucial role in South-east Asia development given that two-thirds of infrastructure financing is arranged here.

HSBC said that it has dedicated infrastructure champions within its global markets and commercial banking client coverage teams that can support and advise on these deals.

Last month, Indonesia became the first country to sell a green sukuk or Islamic bond internationally in a US$1.25 billion deal, and HSBC was one of five banks which handled the sale.

Of the 37,400 international companies in Singapore, 7,000 are multinational corporations (MNCs), and 60 per cent have regional responsibilities. At the same time, Singapore has one of the highest number of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the world on a per capita basis.