Standard Chartered Plc plans to hire 300 to 500 staff in Hong Kong this year, in anticipation of an increase in wealth management and lending as the city reopened its borders to mainland China.
The lender expects “double-digit” growth in wealth management income and “single-digit” loan growth, according to a spokeswoman. The lender’s headcount in Hong Kong has ranged from 5,500 to 5,800 in recent years, she said.
Standard Chartered’s wealth management unit posted a 23 percent slump in operating income in the fourth quarter, as Covid
restrictions negatively impacted face-to-face sales, and volatile markets led to lower transactions, the lender said. Underlying profit before taxation for its key Hong Kong market slid about 9 percent to $1.08 billion in 2022.
With the reopening of the borders, wealthy mainland clients can now travel to Hong Kong and meet with advisers. Rival lender HSBC Holdings Plc’s Chairman Mark Tucker last month said Hong Kong and the Greater Bay area are likely to be “immediate beneficiaries” of China’s reopening.
The reopening has spurred optimism among banks for the region as well as globally, with UBS Group predicting an increase in its key wealth division in Asia this year. Morgan Stanley said last month its wealthy clients are extremely bullish on China’s economy.
The South China Morning Post first reported on Standard Chartered’s hiring plan.