First Citizens has filed a lawsuit against HSBC for poaching 40 senior staff from the collapsed Silicon Valley Bank.
First Citizens purchased $72 billion worth of assets from SVB at a discounted price of $16.5 billion after the bank’s collapse in March.
HSBC, which acquired the UK arm of Silicon Valley Bank for £1, in April hired 40 ex-SVB bankers to establish a new unit targeting tech, healthcare, and VC funds in the US.
HSBC's team will be based in San Francisco, Boston and New York, and led by David Sabow, ex-head of tech and healthcare banking at SVB.
First Citizens claims that by poaching six core leaders and 35 SVB professionals, HSBC and Sabow “short-circuited” the lengthy and expensive process needed to launch a commercial banking business.
The lawsuit, filed by First Citizens in San Francisco, alleges that HSBC used “confidential, proprietary and trade secret information", to secure an unfair competitive advantage.
HSBC has yet to comment on the complaint.