HSBC Holdings

Banking behemoth HSBC is one of the world's largest financial services groups – employing over 300,000 across 7,500 offices in 87 countries. Headquartered in London, the company offers a full range of services, including consumer and business, banking, asset management, investment banking, securities trading, insurance and leasing.

8.3 / 10 22 reviews Overall Satisfaction

A good place to be if you want to drive your own career.

107 employee reviews - read more


  • Diverse and international culture, with friendly employees
  • Good benefits
  • Lots of overseas opportunities and internal mobility
  • Good work/life balance, especially for a bank


  • Base salaries are generally low, especially when compared to other banks
  • Size doesn't always matter: in this case bigger is not better
  • The firm can be terribly hierarchical and can suffer from lack of communication

Dig your globe out of the study. Get a chair. Now spin it and close your eyes... Stop! HSBC will have a presence there. Again. Close your eyes, spin... stop! Guaranteed, HSBC will have a presence there. By now you probably get the picture. Simply put, HSBC is everywhere and can truly claim to be the world’s local bank. To call it a banking behemoth doesn’t do it justice. To quantify, HSBC employs over 300,000 staff across 7,500 offices in 87 countries and territories. Headquartered in London, HSBC Holdings offers a full range of financial services, including consumer and business, banking, asset management, investment banking, securities trading, insurance and leasing.


A Bit of Background

HSBC Holdings was founded in the UK in 1990, following a name change from The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. However, the firm’s history dates back almost 150 years back to Hong Kong in 1865. The founder, a Scotsman named Thomas Sutherland, wanted a bank operating on Scottish banking principles to finance the growing opium trade between China and Europe. Only a year after launch, the firm opened its second branch in Shanghai. This swift expansion was indicative of the following 100 years, with the firm moving into China and Southeast Asia, eventually expanding into the Indian sub-continent, Europe and North America.

The firm’s ‘80s were marked by the strategy to move into new markets: Hongkong Bank of Canada in 1981, and the Hongkong Bank of Australia five years later. In 1987, New York-based Marine Midland Bank joined the fold, and then in 1991, the numerous disparate international entities were brought together under HSBC Holdings.

However, this creation didn’t mark the end of the HSBC story; the 1990s brought further expansion with the firm moving into both Brazil and Argentina. And with the millennium approaching, the firm began bolstering its operations in the US and Europe. After the Millennium Bug didn’t cause nukes to send and seas to overflow, HSBC turned its attentions to France. On acquiring Crédit Commercial de France, HSBC augmented its offering across the country by 700 branches. Then later that year, the firm restructured its private banking operations to form a new holding company in Switzerland, known as HSBC Private Banking Holdings (Suisse) SA.


A Closer Look at Divisions & Departments

HSBC divides its business into four operational units: personal financial services, commercial banking, global banking and markets, and private banking. The firm provides more than 100 million customers worldwide with a full range of personal financial services, such as current and savings accounts, mortgage loans, car financing, insurance, credit cards, loans, pensions and investments. Commercially, the firm services small, medium-sized, and middle market enterprises, with its 2.5 million customers comprising sole proprietors, partnerships, clubs and associations, incorporated businesses and publicly quoted companies. And HSBC Private Bank – together with the private banking activities of HSBC Trinkaus, known collectively as Group Private Banking – provides services to high net worth individuals and their families, throughout 42 countries and territories in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa.


More than just Banking

Being arguably the largest bank on the planet hasn’t distracted HSBC from its eco-responsibility. In 2005, the firm became the first major financial player to go carbon neutral. The firm released an environmental manifesto, outlining its goals to manage and reduce direct emissions and carbon intensity of the electricity it uses by buying electricity from renewable sources where feasible.

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HSBC’s analyst places for graduates are unsurprisingly popular, in no small part due to the firm spanning a wide range of departments and divisions. The firm runs six analyst training programmes in commercial, European, executive, operations and retail management, as well as in customer proportions. The graduate intake in the UK consists of no more than 140 so expect competition to be fierce.

Graduate schemes usually start off with a four-week residential training programme and can last between 18 months and two years, though those hoping to become a part of this truly global organisation face a rather lengthy application process. After an initial online application, candidates have to master a phone screening first, before being invited to an assessment centre comprising a face-to-face meeting, group exercises, a 15-minute presentation and a further one-on-one interview. HSBC won’t keep you waiting should you be successful and aims to get back to within a week.

There are also summer analyst internships and one-year placements on offer, which give you a variety of training and hands-on experience. The firm takes on about 70 undergrads for summer positions so if you want to get a first glimpse of HSBC, apply early.


MBA Associates

If you’re more experienced and have an MBA to tout, HSBC’s associate positions are probably made for you. These are offered in the firm’s global banking department and will have you work on advisory and capital raising transactions for domestic, cross-border and emerging markets clients. With a heavy focus on investment banking, you should gain exposure to a wide range of products in all asset classes. Training will be provided throughout the programme and the hiring process should resemble that of analysts.

10-week associate internships can be taken up during the summer months and are open to first-year MBA students. Fluency in another language is certainly a plus as you’ll be working in the global banking department. While you’ll have to spend your summer at your desk, the training and social events on offer will give you an opportunity to learn more about investment banking and mingle with other like-minded interns and senior bankers.

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Number of employees: 302,000


Between £25,000 and £30,000 base salary depending on the programme.

For Retail Banking Programme:
£25,000 starting salary plus a £2,500 graduate allowance paid in monthly instalments over the 2 years. Up to £4,000 location allowance (depending on where you're based).

For Executive Management Programme: £30,000 starting salary plus £4,000 joining bonus
Up to £4,000 location allowance (depending on where you're based).


Asset Management
Asset Managment
Asset Servicing
Balance Sheet Management
Business Risk and Control Management
Commercial Banking
Credit Cards
CSG - Industrials
Finance IT
FX Front Office Support
GBM Rates IT
Global Banking
Global Banking Coverage
Global capital Finance IT
Global Markets Operations
Global Markets Technology
GM Ops
HSBC Global Asset Management
Investment Banking
Investment Banking, Advisory
Leveraged and Acquisition Finance
Personal Customer Banking
Private Banking
Securities Trading

There is a good sense of teamwork, I have seen a lot of team events which provide good opportunities to meet people higher up in the organisation and socialise with colleagues. While a lot of teams are small, through the work you get to meet a really large range of people. There is a good emphasis placed on networking and personal development.

Read all reviews in Culture

I really don't know much about the company's green initiatives...

Read all reviews in Green Initiatives

Managers are approachable and easy to talk to which is very important. They also take time to engage with you and allow you to raise any concerns and developmental ideas.

Read all reviews in Relations with Management

Really good graduate training. During the year there is also a lot of training.

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Number of offices: 8,000 offices in 87 countries and territories

London Office:
8 Canada Square
London E14 5
HQ Phone: +44 (0)20 7991 8888

No. of offices: 8,000 offices in 87 countries and territories worldwide