“World's local bank” may leave Lebanon

HSBCHSBC has held talks about selling its Lebanese business to Beirut-based Blom Bank in a move that would further retrench the bank's Middle East operations following its pull-out from Jordan in 2014. Although the bank's sub-custody operation in the country, which employs two onshore securities services employees, is not part of the potential sale, Funds Global Mena understands the bank would aim to exit its sub-custody business in Lebanon were it to finalise a deal with Blom Bank. A sale, were it to go ahead, could help HSBC chief executive Stuart Gulliver achieve a three-year goal of ridding the firm of 25,000 employees and cutting costs by $5 billion. HSBC has already reduced the number of countries in which it operates to 71 at the end of last year, according to its website, down from 87 in 2011. By leaving Lebanon, HSBC would reduce its sub-custody network in Middle East region, where it has traditionally been a leader. In an interview last year, Cian Burke, global head of HSBC Securities Services, said that everywhere it operates in the Middle East region, the bank has a dominant market share in securities services. “We’ve got more people in the UAE than most of our competitors in the whole of the Middle East,” he said. HSBC phased out its marketing slogan, “the world's local bank”, in 2012 as it began to cut jobs and withdraw from unprofitable markets. ©2016 funds global mena

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