IL&FS renamed HSBC InvestDirect after takeover

Retail brokerage firm IL&FS Investsmart was on Thursday renamed HSBC InvestDirect following its takeover by the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp last year. HSBC, which acquired 93.86 per cent stake in IL&FS Investsmart in September 2008, has also initiated the process of delisting it from Indian stock exchanges.

HSBC InvestDirect has 1,603 employees and over 200 outlets, through which it provides a range of investment products to retail and institutional clients. "The HSBC InvestDirect brand is our global retail broking brand and is present in five countries. The acquisition of HSBC InvestDirect has offered our banking customers an option to avail themselves of retail broking services," said Naina Lal Kidwai, group general manager and country head, HSBC India.

"It has also provided us with an enhanced reach to offer our wealth management products such as mutual funds and insurance though it's over 200 outlets," she added.

HSBC InvestDirect also has a non-banking finance arm which lends to customers in the capital market space. The non-banking operation incurred a loss of Rs20 crore in the June 2009 quarter, compared to a profit of Rs1 crore in the corresponding quarter last year.

On interest rates, Kidwai said, an expected recovery in bank credit in the next few months may push up interest rates in the later part of the current fiscal.

Sectors that were are primarily not dependent on exports and driven by domestic demand were likely to show a revival in the months ahead and might attract more investments, she added.

HSBC, which has been reducing its dependence on unsecured consumer loans in the face of difficult market conditions, had seen a healthy growth in the secured loan portfolio, Kidwai said.

The bank did not have any plans to enter into the vehicle finance business and would focus more on the NRI segment in the period ahead, she said.