HSBC Exits Retail Broking, Depository Services in India

HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA), Europe’s biggest lender, is closing the unit that offers retail broking and retail depository services in India as the bank focuses on expanding faster-growing operations.

The London-based lender will not open any new broking accounts and notify existing clients of the closing date for its HSBC (5) InvestDirect Securities (India) Ltd. unit, HSBC said in an e-mailed statement. It will still offer retail banking and wealth management, commercial banking, investment banking and capital markets, institutional broking, asset management and insurance services in India.

“The closing down of the retail brokerage operations will help HSBC to free up capital which will be deployed in other growing businesses,” Gareth Hewett, a Hong Kong-based spokesman for the company, said by phone. “The group’s strategy is to invest in faster growing businesses including wealth management and trade financing.”

The lender is retreating from some markets as Chief Executive Officer Stuart Gulliver seeks to increase profitability. HSBC completed the sale of its U.S. credit card unit to Capital One Financial Corp. in May 2012 and sold in February its stake in China’s Ping An Insurance (Group) Co.

Hewett said 300 employees would be affected by the closure, without specifying how many job cuts there would be. He declined to give a time frame for winding down the operations and on the revenue from brokerage operations in India.

HSBC paid $296 million in 2008 for control of brokerage IL&FS Investsmart Ltd., which it renamed HSBC InvestDirect India Ltd.

To contact the reporters on this story: Eleni Himaras in Hong Kong at ehimaras@bloomberg.net; Anto Antony in Mumbai at aantony1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Darren Boey at dboey@bloomberg.net

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