labels: bank general, hongkong & shanghai banking corporation, marketing - general
World''s local bank HSBC announces simultaneous launch of global local bank account in 35 countries news
by Dhruv Tanwar
18 October 2007
Mumbai: HSBC has launched the "HSBC Premier", what the bank calls a truly global personal banking service, targeted at the world''s 200 million affluent and internationally mobile customers, which includes around 1.4 million mass affluent customers in India, and 200 million non-resident Indians (NRIs).

HSBC defines "mass affluent" as those customers who have liquid assets of between $100,000 and $2 million.

The latest "local" account has been rolled out across 35 countries simultaneously, as one of the most comprehensive global banking and wealth management services. The bank says that HSBC Premier breaks down international barriers, offering seamless cross-border banking along with the promise that customers can, for the first time, take their accounts, credit history, and banking relationships with them, wherever they choose to live and work in the world.

Rajnish Bahl, head of personal financial services for HSBC India, however clarified that these were subject to local regulations, citing the example that US laws do not permit sharing of information across the country''s borders, so though the HSBC Premier services would be available to customers, they would be within the ambit of local laws of the land.

Premier customers will have access to 250 international Premier centres across major cities in the world, along with HSBC''s 6000 plus strong global branch network with the Premier service points. Each individual location will have access to all the information needed to service customer requirements, and provide local advisory services.

Speaking at the launch, Naina Lal Kidwai, group general manager and country head for HSBC India said, "There are around 200 million mass affluent consumers in the world today, and the number is growing rapidly, by almost 20 per cent a year. These customers are highly mobile, sophisticated, and knowledgeable. HDBC, with operations in 83 markets, could provide them with the seamless international service they need."

To ensure world-class support to its customers, HSBC has embarked on what could possibly be the largest retraining exercises, which will provide over 4,000 HSBC Premier Relationship Managers globally, along with an additional 2,500 support staff with the training and accreditation needed to provide the services from day one.

Presently, HSBC has a 2-million strong customer base for its previous, nation-specific Premier services programme. It is now seeking to tap into the 200 million mass affluent consumer base to take its market share to the next level.

HSBC Premier, in its new, global avatar, brings with it a host of enhance services and facilities including global recognition and support services, international services, wealth management services, and an exclusive HSBC Premier MasterCard. The bank now offers unique benefits across each of these four pillars:

Global Recognition and Support:

  • Premier in one, premier in all - extending the Premier status to all 35 countries, as opposed to the erstwhile country-specific Premier Status. An HSBC Premier customer would now be Premier across the globe, and not just in the home country.
  • Emergency encashment facilities across any Premier branch or centre.
  • A single, global emergency number, accessible from anywhere across the world, 24/7, realtime.
  • Swipe-based IP phones in Premier Branches and centres to automatically connect a customer to the call centre in his home country.

International Services:

  • Assistance in opening accounts with HSBC across countries, which will allow customers to have their account number even before the customer lands up in the new country of residence.
  • Transfer of credit history information to HSBC across countries, to assist in availing credit facilities in the customer''s new country of residence.
  • Global View of accounts - the customer can get a unified view of his accounts with HSBC, across countries.
  • Free of charge fund transfers between self-named accounts with HSBC.

Credit Card and Loyalty Programmes:

  • Exclusive offers and benefits across 9,000 merchant establishments in 40 countries.
  • Automatic tier upgrades with Jet Airways.
  • Double reward points on credit card spend.

Wealth Management Services:

  • Global investment perspective that leverages HSBC''s global wealth management expertise.

When asked about the average net worth of an individual qualifying for the HSBC Premier, Rajesh Iyer, senior vice president and head marketing of HSBC''s wealth management and liabilities business in India, said that the qualifying amount for the programme is INR 2.5 million.

However, he added, that as opposed to foreign markets, where individuals have independent financial and credit histories and commitments, in India, HSBC evaluates the cumulative worth of a family, which means that a husband-wife unit together could qualify for the programme in India, where as in Hong Kong for example, each of them would need to qualify individually.

Asked about the suitability of this programme for professionals from India''s booming software industry, Iyer said that HSBC has leveraged relationships with a number of corporates, which have proved beneficial for the company, and their employees. He said software giants with teams of 30 - 50 people travelling to foreign destinations for extended periods of time can now open accounts there without any hassle at all, and even before the team lands on-shore, which relieves some of the relocation related pressures on their employees.

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World''s local bank HSBC announces simultaneous launch of global local bank account in 35 countries