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Wednesday, Feb 28, 2024

HSBC Invests in SoCal Business Growth – at Home and Around the Globe

Home to a vast array of successful and growing businesses, Southern California has a lot to offer both start-ups and established companies. That’s one of the reasons HSBC, an international bank with a 160-year history, has made Los Angeles a US hub. From smaller entrepreneur-owner companies to larger corporates to international subsidiaries – find out what HSBC is doing to support local businesses as they grow, here in SoCal and new markets around the world.

“We’re seeing a lot of growth in the tech sector in LA,” said Paul Weeks, HSBC Corporate Banking market head for the region.

Building long-lasting relationships with tech firms as they grow is a key objective for the bank, but they recognize that start-ups can take some time to become cash-flow positive. That’s why HSBC launched its venture debt initiative in 2019.

“This new proposition allows us to lend to earlier stage, emerging technology businesses, which historically we have not done,” Weeks explained.

At the outset, the bank focused this program on high-growth enterprise software firms. However, with their aggressive sustainability and ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) goals – HSBC has started opening the door to cleantech companies making their homes in SoCal as well.

“Sustainability is something that HSBC is passionate about,” said Weeks.

The bank’s Business Plan for the Planet includes sustainability commitments to reach net zero in their operations and supply chain by 2030 and reduce financed emissions from their portfolio of customers to net zero by 2050. The bank will also dedicate up to $1 trillion of finance and investment by 2030 to help customers transition to low carbon.

“There’s been so much innovation around sustainability as well broadly across ESG, and we’re very excited about lending into the various subsets – from renewable energy to electric vehicles,” Weeks said.

HSBC also offers market-leading products to further help companies along their sustainability journey, including green deposits, green bonds, and sustainability-linked loans.

In addition to climate commitments, HSBC focuses on the social aspect of ESG. Internally, this includes several employee resource groups (ERGs) that bring together people with common interests, heritages and backgrounds to effect change. “Our ERGs are incredibly innovative,” said Kelly Mohritz, HSBC US head of International Business Banking.

The Balance ERG, for instance, which concentrates on diversity and gender equality, created a program called Coaching Circles. Each coaching circle is made up of eight to 10 employees and led by a senior executive, allowing staff and leadership to interact with people from other areas of the bank they might not have otherwise.

“The program was so successful, we’re adopting it externally as well with HSBC ROAR in partnership with Allbright,”
Mohritz said.

Allbright is a membership-based organization that gives women a space to connect and collaborate in a club environment. Allbright launched its first club in London in 2018, and HSBC US partnered with the group in 2019 when they opened their West Hollywood location. Their digital platform, born out of COVID, offers a variety of programs – including HSBC ROAR.

“HSBC ROAR will bring a group of five to six female founders together to focus on key business growth topics,” Mohritz explained. “For each session, we’ll have a seasoned coach join the conversation, a successful entrepreneur who is an expert on the specific topic to be discussed.”

The goal, she said, is to help participants connect and build their businesses.

While Weeks and Mohritz are both focused on helping their clients grow, they work with different types of companies. “Paul works with larger corporates who, for the most part, already have a significant international presence,” Mohritz said. “I focus on smaller businesses with revenues of $50 million or less.”

At the same time, Marissa Adams, HSBC ISB market head for the region works with companies headquartered outside the U.S. that have SoCal subsidiaries.

Regardless, HSBC’s service model is the same for all their clients.

“Our accounts are managed by Relationship Managers who are located around the world,” explained Adams.

That means a client based in SoCal will have a dedicated Global Relationship Manager locally as well as a contact in most countries where they have offices.

“This gives overseas offices a local contact who can provide guidance and insight,” added Mohritz. “Plus, since Relationship Managers regularly connect – our clients have a team of people who truly understand their businesses inside and out.”

Adams agrees that this is a differentiator. “Our international subsidiary banking managers work in tandem with Relationship Managers for the headquarters,” she said. “This allows us to gain a deeper understanding of both the subsidiary’s local needs as well as the broader global business for a unique perspective on how to support our clients U.S. growth.”
One of the things that sets HSBC apart is that they are a uniquely international bank. That benefits Weeks’ corporate clients and the international subsidiaries Adams works with as well as the smaller businesses Mohritz’s team serves.

“What we’ve found is that many of the companies we speak to in SoCal who don’t perceive themselves as being international actually are,” explains Mohritz. “For example, even though most of their business might be coming from the US – if a company is importing from China and selling into other markets like the UK, that’s an international business who needs an international bank that will help them as their business continues to grow.”

Weeks added that now is the perfect time for any company to think about expanding into new markets, no matter their size. There was also a pause with COVID, but the world is opening up and M&A transactions are increasing. “There is a lot of opportunity for investment there,” he said. “Many countries are also providing incentives to encourage investment in their markets, so it really is very good time for companies to go global.”

With 6,000 offices around the globe, HSBC supports corporates in over 60 countries and territories as well as smaller businesses in more than 30 markets. One of the largest banks in the world, HSBC has assets totaling more than $2.7 trillion and an industry-leading credit rating. A truly full service international bank, HSBC is also leading the way in the transition to net zero – and was voted Best Bank for Sustainable Finance by Euromoney Awards for Excellence in 2020.

To learn more, visit us.hsbc.com. Or contact the experts directly at Paul.m.weeks@us.hsbc.com, Kelly.l.mohritz@us.hsbc.com, or

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