HSBC’s U.S. unit has hired more than 40 investment bankers from Silicon Valley Bank to establish a new practice aimed at courting tech, healthcare and venture capital clients that may be looking for new banking relationships.
“As we look to grow our business, this offering allows us to connect the innovation ecosystem with the size, strength and international network of HSBC,” Michael Roberts, HSBC’s chief executive in the U.S. and Americas, said Tuesday in a statement seen by the Financial Times.
The move piggybacks on another investment HSBC made in the failed California-based bank. The British lender bought SVB’s U.K. arm for a symbolic £1 days after the U.S. bank collapsed. Most of Silicon Valley Bank’s assets, deposits and loans have since been acquired by Raleigh, North Carolina-based First Citizens Bank.
First Citizens, in its own statement, said it acquired SVB “knowing it had the deepest bench of experts serving the innovation economy and that remains unchanged.”
"This strong team, with decades of experience, is focused on what has always set SVB apart — providing the best client service in the industry," First Citizens spokesperson John Moran said in a statement seen by American Banker.
David Sabow, SVB’s former head of tech and healthcare banking in North America, will lead the new team, to be based in San Francisco, Boston and New York City, HSBC said.
Sunita Patel, another hire from SVB, will oversee investor coverage and business development for technology and healthcare market, according to Reuters. Katherine Andersen will lead life sciences and healthcare, and Melissa Stepanis will oversee technology, the wire service added.
“I could not be more excited to join HSBC as they channel the full strength of their platform toward the innovation economy,” Sabow said, according to the Financial Times.
HSBC in 2021 drastically reduced its U.S. footprint — at least in retail, selling 80 East Coast branches to Providence, Rhode Island-based Citizens Bank and another 10 West Coast locations to Los Angeles-based Cathay Bank. But it held onto 20 to 25 locations, aiming to re-purpose them as international wealth centers.
As it stands, the new practice will fall under HSBC's U.S. commercial banking business, the bank said.
Given HSBC’s investment in SVB’s U.K. arm, the move makes sense, David Erickson, a former investment banker and professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, told the Financial Times.
“[It’s] a natural extension for the strategic decision they’ve already made,” Erickson said. “If you’re going to make that strategic decision, you want to make sure you have a complement to that.”
It wouldn’t be the first instance in which HSBC has marketed itself toward bankers who have found themselves — potentially — in an unexpected career shift. The bank sent recruitment emails to Credit Suisse bankers last fall in the weeks after that firm announced a radical restructuring, Bloomberg reported.
“Whether you were personally affected, or have colleagues that lost their jobs, layoffs are stressful and can be overwhelming,” HSBC’s recruitment team wrote in an email seen by the wire service. “We want to make it easy for you to find your next role.”