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    商業 - 金融

    匯豐的中國夢繞不開這些絆腳石

    Shawn Tully 2015年06月25日

    這家總部設在倫敦的銀行正打算把絕大部分業務轉移到中國大陸,但面前決不會是一條坦途。問題在于,中國會不會對外國銀行開放市場,或者開放程度是否讓匯豐實現其增長預期?目前還看不到跡象。

    ????匯豐正在啟動一場“尋根之旅”。它127年前于香港成立,全名為“香港上海匯豐銀行有限公司”。1992年收購英國米特蘭銀行后,匯豐將總部遷至倫敦?,F在,經過幾十年的全球化擴張,發展出橫跨歐洲、美國和南美的商業、消費和投資銀行網絡后,匯豐開始收縮擴張步伐,并打算大舉回歸亞洲市場。作為歐洲銀行業龍頭,匯豐正在考慮是否把全球總部從倫敦金絲雀碼頭的44層大廈搬回發源地香港,其對亞洲策略的上心程度由此可見一斑。

    ????6月9日,匯豐公布了150多頁的新計劃,其中詳盡地介紹了各項業務,并預測了哪些業務將繼續擴張,哪些業務將收縮。首席執行官歐智華及下屬在長達4小時41分鐘的電話會議中向分析師解讀了各項數據。

    ????歐智華希望扭轉匯豐盈利不斷下滑的局面。顯然,這家銀行的盈利已經不能彌補資本成本。2014年,其股本回報率為8.5%,低于2010年的11.7%。歐智華表示,股本回報率下降有多個原因,包括利差大幅收窄;主要因處理金融危機遺留問題帶來的110億美元的罰款和訴訟費用;以及上繳英國政府的11億美元銀行稅。最后一項也是匯豐打算離開英國的一個主要因素。

    ????近幾年,匯豐業績長期低迷,主要原因在于亞洲之外的各地區分行經營成本高,業務發展緩慢。簡而言之,歐智華的計劃是縮減和出售其他大多數市場的業務,由此賺得的資金用來支持在他認為有前景的地區增長,特別是中國大陸市場。

    ????按照歐智華的策略,匯豐將通過剝離不盈利業務釋放1800億-2300億美元風險加權資產。在資產負債表中,此類資產余額的上升或下降體現了匯豐旗下業務的風險水平。歐智華打算出售土耳其和巴西業務,并大幅壓縮投行部門規模。退出這兩個市場后,匯豐的員工人數將減少2.2萬人。歐智華還計劃在其他表現欠佳的市場裁員2.5萬人。

    ????按照歐智華提出的方案,匯豐將把資產剝離帶來的資金用于在亞洲的大規模擴張。為了和業務增長相配套,該行將在亞洲招聘2.5萬名員工,基本相當于在其他地區的裁員人數。這樣的思路看起來極為合理。匯豐6月9日介紹新計劃時還透露重要信息,盡管有著全球性銀行的名頭,匯豐的發展非常倚重亞洲,同時表明在其他大多數地區的經營情況非常之差。

    ????讓我們從其他地區看起。2014年,歐洲占匯豐資產的30%,帶來的稅前利潤卻只有3%。北美的情況略好一些,利潤和總收入貢獻率分別為8%和18%。兩地的業務毫無進展,收入都基本持平。

    ????相反,亞洲占匯豐資產的40%,去年為該行帶來了36%的收入以及78%的稅前利潤。亞洲還是匯豐唯一實現增長的主要市場,年增長率約為7%。

    ????但歐智華的計劃確實有一個潛在缺陷。雖然在香港匯豐是個龐然大物,但在中國大陸,也就是今后匯豐打算大展拳腳的地區,它只能算個小矮子。在香港,匯豐不僅擁有龐大的金融服務網絡,還在當地銀行業龍頭恒生銀行持有多數股份。同時,匯豐和恒生兩家銀行占香港總貸款的25%,總存款的30%,總金額高達3800億美元。2014年,香港為匯豐貢獻了約71億美元利潤,幾乎占總利潤的40%,收入占比也接近這個水平。

    ????然而,匯豐在中國大陸的規模要小得多。在大陸,匯豐的分支機構還沒到200家,不到英國的五分之一。大陸業務吸收的存款只有430億美元。去年,中國大陸業務的利潤達到了近30億美元,但其中三分之二來自匯豐在交通銀行,也即中國第五大銀行所持的股份。

    ????不過,大陸已經成為匯豐的主要利潤推動力。目前匯豐業務集中在廣東省,這個從香港穿過深圳灣之后的省份是個發展迅猛的工業區。廣東GDP規模達1.1萬億美元,超過了印度尼西亞。匯豐的一項研究預測,到2025年,廣東將取代東京成為全球最大的銀行市場,年收入規模為1850億美元,是紐約預期收入的兩倍以上。

    ????廣東市場的前景無限光明。實際上,中國各家銀行多年來一直在廣東蓬勃發展。但問題在于,中國會不會對外國銀行開放市場,或者開放程度是否讓匯豐實現其增長預期。目前還沒有跡象。

    ????在中國增設銀行分支機構必須經過政府審批,過程可能耗時數年。為獲得中國政府批準,銀行經常同意要為邊遠地區提供服務,而此舉會削弱銀行的盈利能力。中國政府還會限制總行每年向中國分行提供資金的規模,從而控制分行新建分支機構、安裝信息系統以及招聘員工。

    ????在這些因素的限制之下,外資銀行在中國市場的總資產占比只有1.7%。

    ????不過,看來匯豐確信廣東經濟將繼續快速增長,不會受到中國經濟不斷減速的拖累,而且中國政府的放貸限制也不會給廣東造成不利影響。在當天的會議上,匯豐介紹了面向廣東工薪族和企業高層人士的大規模按揭、信用卡、保險以及資產管理服務計劃。

    ????然而,中國大陸并不是香港。外資銀行在大陸發展很難,真的很難。亞洲是匯豐的故土,今后能否東山再起取決于匯豐的亞洲業務可不可以重現往日輝煌。(財富中文網)

    ????譯者:Charlie

    ????審校:夏林

    ????HSBC is returning to its roots. The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation took its first name from its home of 127 years, Hong Kong. It moved to London in 1992 when it purchased the UK’s Midland Bank. Now, after decades of going global, growing a commercial, consumer, and investment banking network across Europe, the U.S., and South America, HSBC is downsizing its ambitions and planning a giant “pivot” back to Asia. A sign of just how ardently Europe’s largest bank is pursuing its Asia strategy: HSBC is studying whether to move its 44-story headquarters in London’s Canary Wharf back to where it all started, Hong Kong.

    ????On June 9, HSBC unveiled its new plan in over 150 pages of presentations that dissected each of its businesses in extraordinary detail and provided forecasts on what would grow and shrink. The bank’s CEO, Stuart Gulliver, and his lieutenants guided analysts through the data in a 4 hour and 41 minute conference call.

    ????Gulliver wants to reverse the slide in HSBC’s profitability; it’s clear that the bank is no longer earning its costs of capital. In 2014, its return-on-equity stood at 8.5%, down from 11.7% in 2010. Gulliver blamed the drop on a variety of special factors: extremely slender interest rates, $11 billion in fines and litigation costs, mostly a legacy of the financial crisis, and a UK banking tax that last year cost $1.1 billion, a major motivator for leaving Britain.

    ????HSBC has performed poorly primarily in recent years because of the cost-laden, slow-growing franchises it operates practically everywhere outside of Asia. Put simply, Gulliver plans to shrink and sell businesses in most of the other markets, and use the extra funds to grow where he sees the future, notably mainland China.

    ????Gulliver’s strategy calls for freeing up between $180 billion and $230 billion in “risk weighted” capital that’s currently backing unprofitable ventures––that’s dollars on the balance sheet marked up or down to reflect the riskiness of the businesses the bank supports. Gulliver pledges to sell HSBC’s franchises in Turkey and Brazil, and severely shrink the investment bank. The exit from those two nations will reduce HSBC’s workforce by 22,000, and Gulliver plans to lay off another 25,000 workers in other poorly performing markets.

    ????Gulliver’s blueprint calls for using the extra funds to propel a big expansion in Asia. The plan also calls for hiring 25,000 workers, about the number HSBC is axing elsewhere, to support the campaign. The idea appears to make terrific sense. Perhaps the biggest revelation from the June 9 presentation is how heavily HSBC, despite its reputation as a global bank, relies on Asia––and how badly it’s faring most other places.

    ????Let’s start with the rest of the world. In 2014, Europe held 30% of HSBC’s assets and generated a piddling 3% of pre-tax profits. For North America, the figures are only slightly better: 8% of profits on 18% of total revenues. Nor are things improving: Revenues are flat in both the U.S. and Europe.

    ????By contrast, HSBC has 40% of its assets in Asia and last year garnered 36% of its revenues from the region. Yet Asia accounted for 78% of its pre-tax profits. It’s also the bank’s only major growth market, expanding at around 7% annually.

    ????Gulliver’s plan does have one potential flaw: HSBC is a colossus in Hong Kong and a pygmy where it’s pledging to exploit what it’s targeted as the market of the future, mainland China. HSBC not only operates a giant financial services network in Hong Kong, it holds a majority of a leading local lender, Hang Seng bank (also owner of the famous stock index). Between them, the two banks hold 25% of all loans in Hong Kong and 30% of deposits, totaling a staggering $380 billion. Hong Kong generated around $7.1 billion in profits in 2014, almost 40% of HSBC’s total, and a like share of revenues.

    ????On the mainland, however, HSBC’s scale shrinks dramatically. It has fewer than 200 branches in mainland China, less than one-fifth of what it has in Britain. Its deposit base in China is a mere $43 billion. HSBC did manage to book almost $3 billion in profits from mainland China last year, but two-thirds flowed from its stake in Bank of Communications, the nation’s fifth-largest lender.

    ????Still, HSBC is counting on the mainland as its big profit engine. It’s concentrating on Guangdong province, the booming industrial area across the Shenzhen Bay from Hong Kong. Its GDP of $1.1 trillion exceeds that of Indonesia. An HSBC study predicts that Guangdong will become the world’s biggest banking market by 2025, supplanting Tokyo and boasting $185 billion in annual revenues, more than twice the projection for New York.

    ????The Guangdong market holds tremendous promise. Indeed, Chinese banks have been thriving there for years. The question is whether China will open this market to foreign banks––or open it enough to allow the kind of growth HSBC anticipates. It hasn’t so far.

    ????Chinese authorities must review and approve all applications for opening new bank branches, and the process can take years. In exchange for granting permission, the Chinese government often requires banks to serve remote areas, which hurts profitability. The government also limits the amount of annual funding that a parent bank can send its Chinese unit, limiting the ability to build new branches, install information systems, and hire workers.

    ????Stymied by those restrictions, foreign banks hold a mere 1.7% of total mainland China assets.

    ????Nevertheless, HSBC seems convinced that Guangdong’s economy will keep growing rapidly, even if China keeps slowing, and that the region won’t suffer from any lending curbs that the Chinese government puts in place. In its presentation, HSBC put forward towering plans to furnish mortgages, credit cards, insurance products, and asset management services to the factory workers and executives in Guangdong.

    ????But mainland China isn’t Hong Kong. Growing there is hard, really hard. HSBC’s future success depends on reprising its success in its once and perhaps future home.

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