HSBC plans to build up investment banking arm

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The Independent Online

HSBC has put creating an investment bank to rival Wall Street's heavy hitters at the centre of its strategy for the next five years.

Sir John Bond, the chairman of HSBC, admitted yesterday that the bank had not used relationships with its 1,400 corporate clients to their full potential.

"We do not want to create a Goldman Sachs; we are trying to create an investment bank in our own image. That cannot be done by acquisition, you have got to build it yourself," Sir John said.

The bank said last week that it would cut the headcount in equities trading and research by nearly a third to 1,000 as part of an attempt to refocus on more lucrative work such as mergers and acquisitions.

At the same time, Douglas Flint, the finance director, said the bank was recruiting bankers of a "higher calibre" so that it could "match potential with capacity to deliver".

HSBC this year poached John Studzinski, one of Morgan Stanley's brightest stars, to be joint head of investment banking with Stuart Gulliver.

The bank, famous for its conservative approach, has in the past eschewed using its mammoth balance sheet to grow investment banking and, as such, has not been involved in the recent series of scandals about biased research and questionable trading.

"Wall Street has got to do some significant work to repair its position. That is not unhelpful in terms of our own position," Mr Flint said.

The next five-year plan will also see HSBC expand consumer finance into Asia and elsewhere. It has made a major investment in the sector, having in the past year bought Household International in the US and Lloyds TSB's consumer finance business in Brazil.