Matthew Kirkby leaves HSBC

His departure as head of large corporate business for commercial banking in the Asia-Pacific region comes as HSBC seeks to simplify its commercial banking division globally.

Matthew Kirkby, head of large corporate business for commercial banking in the Asia-Pacific region, has left HSBC after the bank decided to simplify the structure of its commercial banking division, according to four people familiar with his move.

HSBC had a small global team within commercial banking, led by Noel Quinn, that was focused on helping large corporate clients and mid-market firms, with one representative in each region. But the London-headquartered bank decided in recent weeks to simplify decision-making by getting rid of the segmentation by size and maintaining just a country-focused approach, two of the sources said on Friday.

HSBC commercial banking had 8,000 large corporate clients with bespoke event and flow solution needs, according to an HSBC presentation in June. These clients represented a third of revenue in 2014.

In a presentation in May, HSBC also said that segmentation by size “enables [HSBC] to achieve greater consistency to increase transparency and mitigate risk."

Kirkby had been in his position for less than a year. It is unclear how many other people have been affected by the decision, although one of the people familiar with the bank's restructuring said: “There have been no swingeing job cuts ... most people have been redeployed.” 

With his background in investment banking, Kirkby was focused on offering corporate finance solutions such as M&A financing to HSBC’s largest corporate clients in the region, in partnership with HSBC's product lines.

There were also changes in Kirkby's reporting line after he joined last May. Kirkby was based in Hong Kong and first off reported to Noel Quinn, regional head of commercial banking Asia Pacific and Joel Van Dusen, global head of large corporates for commercial banking. 

When Quinn replaced Simon Cooper as chief executive of commercial banking globally, based in London, he was replaced by Paul Skelton as regional head of commercial banking, Asia-Pacific. 

Back in May 2014 Cooper said on a conference call with analysts: “If we look at segments and geographies, we intend to enhance our strategic relationships with global large corporate customers … And we'll expand our international relationship management model in business banking, focusing on 12 priority markets.

Matthew Kirkby

Kirkby replaced David Morton, who transferred to Gordon French’s global banking and markets division last August to become the regional head of credit and lending.

Prior to joining HSBC, Kirkby was at Malaysia’s CIMB. He was one of the most senior Royal Bank of Scotland bankers brought on board by CIMB as part of its acquisition of RBS’s cash equities, equity capital markets, and corporate finance businesses in Asia-Pacific.

The deal, which Kirkby negotiated for RBS  along with Peter Irvine, was meant to boost CIMB into one of the largest regionally based investment banking franchises in Asia Pacific and enable RBS to exit these businesses at a limited cost.

Kirkby, who was Asia-Pacific head of global banking and global head of corporate finance at RBS, became co-head of investment banking for Asia-Pacific at CIMB, together with CIMB’s head of investment banking, Sooi Lin Kong.

He also took on an additional role as CEO for North Asia, leading the 192-strong team in Hong Kong at the time and providing investment banking advisory services, equity and capital market fundraising abilities, broking services, and research.

Kirkby graduated from Oxford with a law degree and started his career as a solicitor in London and Hong Kong. He joined CLSA as an equity capital markets banker in 1996 and then ABN AMRO as head of South Asia ECM in 2000.

He later became head of M&A and ECM for Asia-Pacific at ABN AMRO (which was subsequently taken over by RBS). He was also global head of equities origination and corporate finance for RBS in London.

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