The needs and requirements of clients have been vastly transformed by Covid-19. The lockdown has forced providers and their customers to adapt their operating models quickly in a way that ensures service delivery is not compromised. Giovanni Fenocchi, global head of Issuer Services and Karen Lomax, head of Issuer Services, Europe, provide their unique insights into how HSBC is supporting its clients during this crisis period.

    What changes have you adopted to your business model to support clients?

    Lomax: Working from home has created a number of logistical challenges but HSBC as a group has adapted to them in a very smooth and effective manner. We are maintaining a regular dialogue with clients through virtual communication channels and are adjusting our business model elsewhere. Whereas previously it may have been necessary to obtain a wet signature to execute a particular deal, we are now signing off on transactions electronically. While the volatility has meant that some of our teams have been extraordinarily busy, others are less so. In response, we have moved a number of our people with transferable skillsets to different projects.

    We have observed an increase in demand for escrow solutions, as organisations make use of it to source COVID-19-related medical equipment.

    Giovanni Fenocchi

    What are clients asking for and how are you helping them during this period?

    Fenocchi: We have been engaging closely with clients, supporting them with their various liquidity requirements and helping them access programmes as and when needed. The speed at which we have executed these transactions has been incredible. There are also different trends emerging across different markets. We have observed an increase in demand for escrow solutions, as organisations make use of it to source COVID-19-related medical equipment and also are providing services to clients issuing ESG (Environment Social Governance) linked financial products which are being deployed to finance the fight against the outbreak.

    Lomax: A number of our clients want access to short-term liquidity and revolving credit facilities, through new loan facilities, bond issuance and drawing-off existing facilities and we are supporting them by providing agency roles and operational efficiency. In Europe, we are also seeing an increase of transactions in the Paying Agency space, linked to the COVID Corporate Financing Facilities (CCFF) that are being established to help businesses across a range of sectors to pay wages and suppliers, while experiencing severe disruption to their normal cash flows.

    In Europe, we are also seeing an increase of transactions in the Paying Agency space, linked to the COVID Corporate Financing Facilities (CCFF) that are being established to help businesses to pay wages and suppliers.

    Karen Lomax

    How will HSBC Issuer Services – from a client relationship perspective – acclimatise to the new normal working environment?

    Fenocchi: We are living in a new world, which gives us something of a blank canvass to work with. Irrespective of what happens, it is fundamental that we listen to our clients and remodel our business in a way that is aligned with their requirements. We also need to be careful not to be too prescriptive. Certain business models may work well in Europe but less so in Asia or the US, for instance. As a business, we need to be flexible in how we support clients moving forward. However, I do believe the days of international jet setting will not be as prominent in the future as more client meetings are conducted through virtual means.

    To find out more about HSBC Issuer Services, please visit our website: www.gbm.hsbc.com/issuer-services

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