HSBC completes separation of £200bn ringfenced bank

HSBC Canary Wharf

HSBC has finished setting up its ringfenced bank, making it the last of the four biggest UK lenders to complete the key post-financial crisis reform.

The bank today said that it legally completed the complex move yesterday, after receiving High Court approval on 21 May.

HSBC UK has over £200bn in assets and received its banking licence from the Prudential Regulation Authority on 27 June, the bank said in a statement.

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The UK arm is wholly owned by the HSBC Holdings parent company, but has a separate board led by former London Stock Exchange chief executive Dame Clara Furse. Chief executive Ian Stuart leads the bank, with David Watts as chief financial officer.

Britain's biggest banks were forced to split their operations in two by the government after the global financial crisis to protect retail and small business customers from the riskier activities of investment banks. The deadline for the switch was the beginning of 2019.

The bank will serve 14.5m personal and business customers in the UK, including all retail customers at HSBC, Marks and Spencer Bank and First Direct.

Most HSBC commercial banking customers will be served by HSBC UK, the ringfenced arm, although the largest corporates will still be served by the investment banking arm.

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HSBC described the ringfencing as "one of the largest projects ever undertaken by HSBC". The bank was forced to separate over 250 separate computer systems as well as payments infrastructure, alongside transferring 400,000 bank accounts to new HSBC UK sort codes and rebranding all branches in the UK to HSBC UK.

Ian Stuart, chief executive of HSBC UK, said: “We are delighted to complete the ringfencing of HSBC UK six months ahead of the legal deadline.

"The creation of our ringfenced bank and our move to Birmingham is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get closer to our customers, colleagues and communities across the UK.”

Read more: A UK bank has held on to the title of Europe's largest

Full story: HSBC completes separation of £200bn ringfenced bank: City A.M.

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