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If SVB's London bankers return to HSBC, it could be a bit awkward

Now that HSBC has bought Silicon Valley Bank's UK unit for £1, it's possible that the bank's UK staff could be subsumed by their bigger rival. It's not clear how HSBC's purchase will fit with the apparent management buyout underway at SVB Securities, but if UK staff revert to HSBC it will be something of a homecoming.

As we reported previously, SVB spent much of the past year building up its UK leveraged finance business. And its new recruits came from two main sources: HSBC and NatWest Markets. 

Last year's UK recruits included Alex Hung, an associate in leveraged finance origination, who joined from HSBC in May and Thanusiya Sivarajah, a senior associate, who came from HSBC in April. Rupy Malizia, chief strategic transformation & change officer for SVB EMEA, also joined from HSBC in November.  Valerie Romanovskaya, director of finance in the UK joined from HSBC previously, in 2019. 

SVB's European leveraged finance recruits in 2022 also included Jeffrey Cheuk from Natwest at VP level. Tom Dearden joined as a director in leveraged finance from Natwest in 2021.

Following today's events in London, the implication is that HSBC's escapees could now be returned to the mothership. In doing so, the danger is that they may experience a disparity in pay. Headhunters claim that SVB has been more generous than HSBC in London in an attempt to attract staff. If the migrants are reabsorbed they may need a pay cut. Clearly, they may be more than happy to accept one - and there will need to be negotiations around the fact that any stock they received from SVB is now worth nothing at all.

SVB's historic willingness to be generous is reflected in its recruitment of various senior technology bankers from UBS and other major banks in the US last year. One of its most recent recruits in this category is Scott Silverglate, who joined from Goldman Sachs in February 2023. Last month it also recruited Renato Varella from Nomura in New York as a director in healthcare banking, and Brendan Meehan from MUFG in New York for leveraged finance.  

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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