HSBC execs become ‘Dragons’ in quest for ideas in Europe

HSBC is launching a ‘Dragon’s Den’-style competition for staff within its European investment bank to pitch new ideas for bolstering revenues in the division.

The UK lender is starting the venture under its new European global banking boss Lisa McGeough amid a broader strategy shift at HSBC that has so-far resulted in the reduction of around 10,000 jobs across the bank and a renewed focus on its key markets and business lines.

McGeough, who took over from veteran Philippe Henry in June, has been encouraging its staff in Europe to submit ideas for improving revenues at the unit using its existing infrastructure. There are around 2,000 employees in the division in Europe, according to bank sources.

The idea is to improve engagement among its employees and encourage them to drive growth across the unit, according to people familiar with the matter.

Senior bankers at the UK lender have whittled down a list of 40 ideas from employees in the UK and across Europe to 10, which will be presented to a team of HSBC’s ‘dragons’ at its Canary Wharf headquarters in early November.

READ HSBC names Wells Fargo’s McGeough as new European investment bank chief

McGeough will be on the panel of judges, alongside Julian Wentzel, head of global banking for the UK and international Europe, Jean-Manuel Richier, co-head of global banking and head of investment banking in continental Europe, Anna Tavano, co-head of global banking for Europe, its head of advisory and investment banking coverage, Adam Bagshaw, Yvonne Steyn-Adams, its chief operating officer for wholesale banking in Europe, and McGeough’s chief of staff, Neil Bhoti. 

Successful candidates will be told on the day of judging and there is no limit on how many of the finalists’ ideas could be used, the people said.

HSBC’s sweeping overhaul unveiled in February last year will eventually lead to around 35,000 jobs lost as it reduces risk-weighted assets by $100bn and cuts costs to $31bn by 2022. However, its global banking business in Europe remains a core unit for the UK lender, which is also set to invest $6bn in Asia to fuel growth in the region.

READ HSBC’s ex-European banking chief Henry goes it alone with consultancy startup

Across its investment bank, HSBC is aiming to hire senior dealmakers to bring in more M&A and equity capital markets deals, its co-head of global banking and markets, Greg Guyett, told Financial News in May.

“We need to keep adding bankers that have access to the C-suite,” he said. “We need bankers that can be strategic advisers to chairmen and CEOs. We have some great bankers, but not enough to cover all those clients from an investment banking perspective, so we’re definitely adding.”

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Paul Clarke

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