When Stuart Gulliver took over the reins of HSBC back in 2011, the private banking business of the London-based Asian bank had presence in roughly 150 countries. Nowadays HSBC has private banking presence in around 50 countries, but the bulk of the restructuring is over.
After the bank was involved in a tax evasion scandal in 2015, with the so-called Panama Papers, Gulliver hired specialists from Rothschild and KPMG to lead the restructuring. They focused their efforts on eliminating or reducing private banks from, mainly Europe, but including countries such as Japan, Panama, Israel, Bermuda, Brazil and even Mexico.
In its most recent earnings release, which saw a 62% fall in earnings-affected by a lower income after the closure of several units-Gulliver wrote that "The restructuring of Global Private Banking is now largely complete, and although Global Private Banking is now much smaller than it was three years ago, it is deliberately positioned for sustainable growth with a focus on serving the personal wealth management needs of the leadership and owners of the Group’s corporate clients."
The manager also mentioned that "2016 was a good year in which we achieved a solid performance of all our global businesses," despite the fact that it collected a provision of approximately 700 million dollars for legal expenses related to investigations related to money laundering and tax evasion in countries like the USA, Argentina, France, Belgium and India.