Tan Siew Meng is no ordinary private banker. HSBC’s new regional head of global private banking for the Asia-Pacific has spent more than 30 years dealing with corporate clients and business owners across Asia, and brings to the role an intimate understanding of the practical issues they face on a day-to-day basis.
From starting out in corporate banking in Singapore to running HSBC’s regional trade finance business, she has spent most of her career dealing directly with entrepreneurs and decision-makers. Having helped them to grow their businesses, she is now focused on helping them to grow and protect their private wealth.
“When you’re granting a commercial loan it’s about understanding the client’s business and where their risk comes,” she says. “After all these years of working very closely with clients and helping them, we become a partner."
"Through our diligence in getting to know how their business works, we protect ourselves and we protect them as well. That’s my background.”
Tan joined HSBC 13 years ago in the global banking business in Singapore, providing financial services and products to multinational corporations, large local businesses and Temasek- and government-linked companies.
Having developed strong relationships in that role, she moved on to running the commercial banking business in Singapore and from there she was promoted to her first country-head role as chief executive for Mauritius, an important offshore financial centre, and then chief executive for Thailand, home to some of Southeast Asia’s most successful businesses and entrepreneurs.
This impressive career path led to her most recent position as Asia-Pacific regional head of trade finance—a business that HSBC dominates globally—and, in January, to her current role at HSBC Private Banking.
This is not the conventional route to the senior ranks of one of the world’s biggest private banks—HSBC Private Banking has US$298 billion of total client assets under management globally—but Asia is not the typical private banking market.
A large proportion of the bank’s private clients in Asia are first- or second-generation wealth creators whose businesses have long relationships with HSBC, or who work in senior positions at major global corporations that bank with HSBC.
For Tan, bringing together all the qualities that HSBC demonstrates and matching them with her own experience represented an unprecedented opportunity.
“When I was presented with the idea of running the regional private banking business, I immediately said yes,” she admits. “I’m really excited by the role and what we can do for the clients I’ve already been working with for so long.”
Check back later this month for more on how Tan is embracing the growth of Asian markets, and leading HSBC forward in private banking.
Read more about HSBC Private Banking .