Pedestrians walk past HSBC signage outside the bank's Indian head office in Mumbai on August 2, 2011. Global banking giant HSBC will hire up to 15,000 people in emerging markets over the next three years, a spokeswoman said August 2, a day after it announced plans to slash 30,000 jobs worldwide.  AFP PHOTO/Indranil MUKHERJEE (Photo credit should read INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP via Getty Images)

HSBC appoints Chira Barua as strategy expert as it eyes up Asia market

London-headquartered HSBC has appointed Chira Barua strategy expert to chart the bank’s growth plans in a post-pandemic scenario.

According to The Sunday Times, Barua has joined the bank as Group Head of Strategy and will assess which markets and areas HSBC should focus on over the next five to 10 years. Analysts believe this could push the bank deeper into Asia in search of higher returns.

Chira Barua

The review by Barua, previously a partner at McKinsey & Co and an analyst at Alliance-Bernstein, is aimed at “moving the dial” more than simply exiting small markets, the newspaper quoted an insider as saying.

“I think the group will focus a bit more on southeast Asia, including Singapore,” an HSBC banker was quoted as saying.

HSBC is also looking to boost its market share of wealthy customers in the Asia Pacific region, which has a high number of billionaires.

Barua’s appointment completes a string of hires by the new HSBC boss, Noel Quinn, who took over as chief executive in March.

The bank, which has 235,000 staff in 64 countries, is under pressure to boost returns. Its shares have fallen 38 per cent this year, their lowest level in two decades. HSBC is said to be aiming to strip out $4.5 billion of costs and offload $100 billion of risky assets over the next few years. It is also ditching share buybacks this year and next, the newspaper report said.