Money20/20 afternoon sessions began with a fireside chat between HSBC UK CEO Ian Stuart and Arjun Kharpal, senior technology reporter at CNBC. They discussed HSBC’s acquisition of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and what the future holds.
With many in the audience looking for an update on the status of SVB, Stuart revealed the bank is working to “migrate SVB off of the US systems and bring it onto the UK system. We’ve had a very limited time to be able to do that, so it has been quite frenzied to try and get that done.”
He added that they are “not quite there yet” with this project, but remained positive about current progress. HSBC stepped in to take over the UK arm of SVB in March 2023, and although they “hadn’t planned for it," the bank prevailed. "That’s the big thing. So suddenly you’re trying to get enough resources to do this.”
Given that HSBC has the reputation as a bank with a limited risk appetite and SVB, being built betting on startups, Kharpal raised the question of whether HSBC was the right bank for this acquisition.
In response, Stuart argued that when it came to signing the documents they “were quite convinced that this was going to be good for all parties. So our challenge over the next few years is to prove that we are the right bank for this. I can assure you SVB a very good bank in the UK. We did our due diligence. We believe we have very talented people.”
Stuart also confirmed that SVB will remain a standalone bank. “That is the most important thing. We want to keep the magic that’s there, we want to sustain that. What we want to do from there is add on our product suite and our expertise on to that. Which means you can really go from Series A seed funding all the way to IPO and never have to go outside that bank."
Once these processes are integrated, HSBC’s plan is to “start to build that out and then very quickly take it global.” Stuart argued against those who say HSBC are not in this market, and said that the acquisition of SVB will accelerate their plans.
Stuart added: “We’ve got a really nice commercial bank in the US. We’re going to try and link the US into the UK. Then into the Middle East, there’s a really big presence in the Middle East, very active market at the moment. And then into Asia.” He advised attendees to not "doubt the ambition in HSBC to make that work… We are going to protect what SVB had.