HSBC's Fung promoted

Anita Fung moves up the HSBC ladder

Anita Fung is appointed Hong Kong CEO for HSBC, in addition to her role as global banking and markets chief, after the departure of Mark McCombe to BlackRock.
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Anita Fung speaking at our Country Awards on Friday night
<div style="text-align: left;"> Anita Fung speaking at our Country Awards on Friday night </div>

HSBC on Friday promoted Anita Fung to chief executive officer for Hong Kong. She will take on the new role in addition to her existing duties as head of global banking and markets (GBM).

The promotion is Fung’s second in two years — she was elevated to head of GBM for Asia-Pacific in January last year. In the new job, she also becomes head of HSBC’s global asset management business in the region. Gordon French, who was then Asia-Pacific managing director for sales and regional treasury management, succeeded her as head of global markets for Asia-Pacific.

Fung succeeds Mark McCombe as Hong Kong CEO. McCombe has resigned to join BlackRock as chairman of the Asia-Pacific region. He will be a member of BlackRock’s global executive committee and global operating committee, reporting to BlackRock’s chairman and CEO, Laurence Fink. During his two-decade career at HSBC, he has held a variety of roles, including head of global asset management.

“Mark is a world-class leader with a track record of successfully building client-focused financial services businesses in Asia and around the world,” said Fink in a written statement, announcing the appointment of McCombe. “We’ve expanded significantly in the region in recent years and, with a leader of Mark’s calibre joining our team, I am confident we can accelerate the growth of our business and brand in Asia, and continue strengthening the investment capabilities needed to help our clients achieve their financial objectives.” McCombe replaces Rohit Bhagat, who is approaching the end of a two-year commitment to serve as chairman of Asia-Pacific for BlackRock, the statement said.

HSBC insiders said that Fung was the obvious choice for the role. GBM is a $9.5 billion business for the HSBC group and accounted for half of its total pre-tax profit last year. In Asia, the business contributed $4 billion last year and was the region’s biggest customer group, responsible for 35% of pre-tax profits.

Fung is credited with making the wholesale-banking platform more integrated and client-focused. Her successes are particularly evident in Hong Kong and China, where HSBC has broadened coverage of the resources and energy group, financial institutions and consumer, and retail. Fung has also ensured that HSBC is an early mover in the development of the renminbi, in both the onshore and offshore markets. On the products side, HSBC has improved its position in equity markets and started making inroads in M&A.

A HSBC spokesperson said Fung’s position in HSBC is further testament to its diversity values. Of the 17 people on the board of HSBC Holdings, four are women: Rona Fairhead, Safra Catz, Rachel Lomax and Laura Cha. Elsewhere in the bank, senior women bankers include Irene Dorner, the US CEO; Naina Lal Kidwai, India country head; Helen Wong, China CEO; and Margaret Leung, Hang Seng Bank CEO. FinanceAsia recently selected Fung as one of the top 20 women in finance in Asia.

Fung is clearly on a fast track at HSBC, said a source close to the situation, who pointed out that Peter Wong, who is currently Asia-Pacific CEO for HSBC, was also earlier Hong Kong CEO. The job is a key one for HSBC, given the bank’s history in the region and the fact that it is one of the three currency-issuing banks.

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