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Maria-Elena Gatt Floridia, the private banker who has told Spear’s she ‘started from nothing’, is moving by leaps and bounds in the private client world. Not only has her AuM grown substantially, but the global nature of her UK clients’ portfolios has also returned ‘strong revenue and performance’. The cherry on top is her recent promotion to director. Recent conversations with clients have revealed that her clientele are continuing to steer away from traditional asset classes into territories with higher risk, to compensate for low yields in the former. These investments also tend to be more long-term and illiquid, but HSBC has plenty of expertise in this area and is able to provide hedge funds, real estate and private equity opportunities, with HAIL managers advising on $24.2 billion (HF) and $8.4 billion (PE and RE) of assets across these areas.
What’s most important, however, is her relationships with her clients. ‘It’s about staying close to clients, making sure that it’s not just about investments,’ she says. That means ensuring that the right structuring is in place for portfolios. A more varied and streamlined service requires teams of experts in areas such as financial planning, exit planning, and many others, with whom she works closely to cater to their individual needs. ‘We are quite unique in the way we are structured — I don’t work on my own!’ she laughs, when asked about the private bank’s dynamic approach to service. She explains how departments across the bank revolve around clients. She credits three specialist teams that work with her for a ‘one-stop-shop’ effect: the financial planning and structuring team, the credit advisory team for personalised lending, and the investment counselling team. There is a focus on bringing in prospects from HSBC’s commercial centres, and identifying business owners who are looking to sell their business to qualify as a private banking client in the next three to five years. ‘We want to be their bank of choice,’ she says. What does she look forward to? ‘Another successful year — I will continue to work closely with my clients, I want to be part of their journey.’

Maria-Elena Gatt Floridia