Mar 27, 2023
HSBC’s Shaw Says Acquisition of SVB UK Made ‘Great Sense’
(Bloomberg) -- HSBC Holdings Plc’s acquisition of Silicon Valley Bank’s UK arm made “great sense” from a business perspective and had nothing to do with pressure from regulators, according to Antony Shaw, chief executive officer of the bank’s Australia unit.
“It’s an opportunity that doesn’t come along very often,” Shaw said via video from Hong Kong at an AFR banking summit on Tuesday. “To secure that asset portfolio, liability portfolio, but also those 700 talented individuals and those 3,000 customers makes great sense.”
HSBC took over the UK operations of SVB for £1 ($1.2) earlier this month, shortly after the failure of the California bank. The collapse raised questions about access to funds for the tech startups that banked with SVB. HSBC has agreed to inject £2 billion of liquidity into SVB’s UK division.
“Not a single dollar of UK taxpayer money was required to solve that situation,” Shaw said, adding that HSBC moved in 12-15 hours in partnership with the Bank of England and the UK prudential regulator.
“It was a good example and will probably become a Harvard business case study in time with regards to how the government and private sector can work well in times of crisis.”
Even before the purchase, HSBC was a lender to startups and venture capital firms in the UK and worked with the bulk of the country’s major listed technology companies.
“You’ve got a very accretive asset portfolio backed by a very stable deposit base in a sector that really aligns with where we want to be as an organization in the tech sector in the UK and western Europe,” Shaw said.
Asked about the stability of SVB UK’s deposit base, Shaw said it needed to be interpreted differently.
“Deposits and mortgages are interchangeable commodities when your only loyalty is an ATM or an App,” he said. “However, customer loyalty, especially in the current environment, from our view point, can be built in other ways.”
(Adds response to question over stability of deposit base.)
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