In the banking turmoil that has been well documented, the image of HSBC has been a key contributor to the success of the business in terms of keeping its nose clean, but a further focus in passive and emerging markets has had a significant sales impact.
Passive inflows have been key to HSBC cementing a place among the industry’s top net and gross fund sellers. Despite its size, the group has ebbed and flowed in the UK retail market and managing director of the UK and EMEA wholesale business Andy Clark says its top 10 position surprises many.
This pragmatic approach is the culmination of a long-term repositioning of HSBC in the retail space - and the business is unrecognisable from a decade ago. Until recent years, the group - now branded HSBC Global Asset Management - enjoyed its best period in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Key personnel in this strategy include Alan Gadd as managing director, Robin Minter-Kemp as sales director, Richard Pursglove in charge of discretionary sales and Clark himself heading IFA sales, the group also had popular funds to sell.
Tim Russell’s UK Growth & Income was particularly favoured by multi-managers and advisers, as was European Growth under Chris Rice. This came to an end in 2002 when Minter-Kemp moved to Cazenove and took five managers - including Russell and Rice - with him. Jonathan Polin joined in 2003 to reinvigorate the business but replacements for stars proved unsuccessful and he moved on at the end of 2004.