Structural Reform of the UK banking sector

The Financial Services (Banking Reform) Act of 2013 is a UK Government proposal aiming to impose higher standards of conduct on the UK’s banks. It also looks to improve their loss-absorbing capacity and outlines plans for the “ring-fencing" of retail and wholesale banking activities.

What is the UK Banking reform?

After the global economic crisis, the UK Government put new rules in place to protect the economy and taxpayers, in case something similar happens again.

HSBC has complied with these rules, as confirmed by the High Court. Some of the steps HSBC took included:

  • To comply with ring-fencing, HSBC separated its retail banking operations from its wholesale and investment divisions and changed the way HSBC is structured in the UK, including creating a new, ring-fenced bank, HSBC UK
  • On 21 May 2018, the transfer of our personal customers and most of our business customers in the UK from HSBC Bank plc to HSBC UK was approved by the High Court at the Sanction Hearing
  • On 01 July 2018 the transfer took place, ahead of the Government’s deadline of 01 January 2019

What does this mean for Global Banking and Markets clients?

There was very little change for the vast majority of our Global Banking and Markets (GBM) clients. GBM customers may continue to bank with HSBC Bank plc and benefit from our international network and HSBC UK where appropriate. Equally, customers of HSBC UK will continue to benefit from our international network and our investment banking solutions.

Qualification declaration

  • The ring-fencing rules mean that any entity that continues to bank with HSBC Bank plc that is not a Relevant Financial Institution (RFI) must go through a qualification process to confirm that it meets certain criteria.
  • For corporates and partnerships (not in their first year of trading) the following criteria is used to determine which clients will remain part of HSBC Bank plc. This is a once only exercise for existing customers and is based on the latest financial accounts. At least one entity in their corporate group must have:
    • Turnover: equal to or greater than GBP6.5m
    • Balance sheet total: equal to or greater than GBP3.26m
    • Number of employees: equal to or greater than 50.
  • If you have any questions about the qualification process, please contact your Relationship Manager.
Customers of HSBC Bank plc
Customers of HSBC UK
  • All our Global Banking and Markets customers in our wholesale and investment banking division
  • UK commercial customers categorised as Non-Bank Financial Institutions, including Relevant Financial Institutions (RFI), and customers of non-UK branches of HSBC Bank plc, including Channel Islands and Isle of Man customers.
  • HSBC personal and commercial customers in the UK
  • UK retail brands M&S Bank and first direct
  • UK Private Bank Customers

Marks and Spencer Financial Services plc (MSFS) and HSBC Private Bank (UK) Limited (PBGB) will be subsidiaries of HSBC UK.

All our affected customers will be notified of these changes but, if you have any questions, please contact your Relationship Manager.

We don't anticipate any changes to our terms and conditions (other than changing the legal entity name for HSBC UK customers). If your money is eligible to be protected under the Financial Services Compensation scheme (or other similar schemes), it will still be covered as it is today.

Where to go for more information

For general questions, including sort code changes and the qualification process, see our client FAQs.

For more information about ring fencing visit:

For more detailed questions, please contact your Relationship Manager, or your Case Manager if you have been assigned one.

Need help?

For more information, please contact your HSBC representative.