London-headquartered HSBC has appointed an Indian-origin strategy expert to chart the bank's growth plans in a post-pandemic scenario.
According to 'The Sunday Times', Chira Barua has joined the bank as Group Head of Strategy and will assess which markets and areas HSBC should focus on over the next five to 10 years. Analysts believe this could push the bank deeper into Asia in search of higher returns.
The review by Barua, previously a partner at McKinsey & Co and an analyst at Alliance-Bernstein, is aimed at 'moving the dial' more than simply exiting small markets, the newspaper quoted an insider as saying.
"I think the group will focus a bit more on southeast Asia, including Singapore," an HSBC banker was quoted as saying.
HSBC is also looking to boost its market share of wealthy customers in the Asia Pacific region, which has a high number of billionaires.
Barua's appointment completes a string of hires by the new HSBC boss, Noel Quinn, who took over as Chief Executive in March.
The bank, which has 235,000 staff in 64 countries, is under pressure to boost returns. Its shares have fallen 38 per cent this year, their lowest level in two decades. HSBC is said to be aiming to strip out USD 4.5 billion of costs and offload USD 100 billion of risky assets over the next few years. It is also ditching share buybacks this year and next, the newspaper report said.