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HSBC to shut down private banking business in India

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hsbc-bankHSBC Holdings Plc is shutting its private banking unit in India, marking the exit of another foreign bank from the cut-throat wealth management business in Asia’s third-largest economy.

“After a strategic review of the global private banking operations in India, we have decided to close the business,” an India spokesman said on Friday. “This marks further progress in the HSBC group strategy to simplify business and deliver sustainable growth.”

Many foreign wealth managers had scrambled to open up shop in India a few years ago and aggressively ramped up operations to take advantage of robust economic growth, only to find themselves struggling.

Even though India’s economy has been minting millionaires at a strong pace, it has failed to translate into profits for the foreign wealth managers that have set up teams of well-paid bankers to help manage those riches.

Banks including Royal Bank of Scotland and Morgan Stanley have sold their onshore India private banking units in the recent past, as part of their global business restructuring.

The Mumbai-based HSBC spokesman said it would offer private banking clients the choice to move to HSBC Premier, the bank’s global retail banking and wealth management platform. The process is likely to be completed in the first quarter of 2016.

HSBC’s private banking business in India has about 70 staff, a source with direct knowledge of the development told media.

The bank employs about 32,000 people in India, where it also offers corporate, retail and investment banking services.

It was not immediately clear how much assets HSBC’s private banking unit managed in India, but wealth management industry sources said the bank was not one of the top three players in this segment.

The bank, Europe’s biggest lender, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on its private banking staff in India and its market position.

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