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One of HSBC's most senior European bankers is leaving

Forget the exits at Barclays. While one British bank tinkers around the edges, trimming a hundred or so managing directors, another British bank is preparing major surgery.

HSBC's 2020 investor day isn't happening until mid-February. However, some big changes are already taking place: Matthew Wallace, the global co-head of corporate finance coverage, is understood to be leaving. His interim replacement will be Hugo Heath, who is vice chairman of global banking. Peter Enns will remain the other global co-head.  

HSBC didn't comment on Wallace's departure, which is thought to be being announced internally this afternoon.

The reason for Wallace's exit is unclear. Insiders suggested it may not actually be related to the strategy shakeup being implemented by interim CEO Noel Quinn.

Wallace joined HSBC from Credit Suisse in 2011 and was initially global head of the resources and energy group. He was promoted to head of global banking for Europe in September 2018. Wallace spent nearly 12 years at Credit Suisse after beginning his career at Kleinwort Benson.

In 2019 HSBC ranked 10th in Europe for investment banking revenues, up from 11th one year previously. HSBC is strongest in debt capital markets, where it ranked 5th in EMEA in 2019. It ranked outside the top 10 in M&A and equity capital markets. 

HSBC's global banking business has been through various changes in recent years. Ex-Goldman Sachs banker Matthew Westerman joined as co-head of global banking in January 2017 but proved a bad fit culturally and left again 19 months later. In September 2018, a group of unnamed HSBC bankers wrote a letter to Westerman's replacement, Robin Phillips, accusing him of "persistent failure" and demanding his removal. Phillips then quit in February 2019 and was replaced as global head of banking by JPMorgan veteran Greg Guyett.

Various senior bankers have left HSBC in recent years, voluntarily or otherwise. They include Philip Noblet, the former head of UK investment banking, who is now at Jefferies curtailing lunchtime drinking.Wallace is understood to be 'pursuing other opportunities.'

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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