Business

HSBC opts for Innovation in rebranding of Silicon Valley Bank UK

HSBC will next month unveil a new name for the technology-focused bank it rescued earlier this year after its US parent collapsed.

Sky News has learned that Europe’s biggest lender intends to rebrand Silicon Valley Bank UK (SVBUK) under the name HSBC Innovation Banking.

The new identity is expected to be announced to coincide with London Tech Week, which kicks off on 12 June.

One tech veteran said it may stoke concerns among entrepreneurs that by bringing SVBUK under the HSBC brand, the new subsidiary was at risk of surrendering the operational independence that had made it a distinctive presence in the SME banking market.

Noel Quinn, HSBC’s chief executive, has talked about the need to preserve the culture of a business it stepped in to rescue for £1 as it teetered on the brink of insolvency.

The Bank of England orchestrated the deal, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also becoming personally involved.

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SVBUK has thousands of clients, many of whom had joined forces to warn the government that its demise would imperil Britain’s start-up economy.

They warned of “an existential threat to the UK tech sector”, adding: “The Bank of England’s assessment that SVB going into administration would have limited impact on the UK economy displays a dangerous lack of understanding of the sector and the role it plays in the wider economy, both today and in the future.”

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Senior leadership to remain the same

Sky News recently revealed that HSBC was appointing a trio of senior figures as directors, two months after acquiring the US-owned lender.

No imminent changes to SVBUK’s executive leadership are planned, with Erin Platts remaining as chief executive.

SVBUK’s independent chairman Darren Pope is also expected to remain in place, at least for the time being.

In the US, SVB was taken into temporary public ownership after a run on the bank triggered by a crisis of confidence among depositors.

It was subsequently sold to First Citizens Bancshares, a regional US lender.

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Sky News revealed in March that HSBC had signed off on the payment of just under £20m in bonuses to SVBUK staff.

One insider said at the time that the bonus payments were a signal of HSBC’s confidence in the talent base at its new subsidiary and that it had been keen to honour previously agreed payments in order to help retain key staff.

Employing about 700 people in Britain, SVBUK is a profitable business but was brought to the brink of collapse by the travails of its American parent company.

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