HSBC sells Greek stock broking unit

Europe?s biggest bank, HSBC, said on Thursday it had agreed to sell its Greek stock broking business, HSBC Securities S.A., to a group of investors led by the unit?s current managing director Nikos Pantelakis.

HSBC Securities, one of Greece?s ten biggest stockbrokers, provides equity broking services for Greek equities and derivatives to domestic and foreign institutional clients, domestic retail clients and HSBC?s institutional clients.

HSBC said the sale represented further progress in the execution of its long-term strategy. It is in the first year of a three-year revival plan to cut costs and boost profitability.

The plan will see it focus on fast-growing Asian markets and cut its exposure to troubled euro zone countries such as Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Greek banks are grappling with uncertainty ahead of a June 17 election that may determine whether the country remains in the euro zone.

HSBC said the business, which had gross assets of 35.8 million euros ($44.7 million) at the end of April, would continue to be one of its preferred brokers in Greece for its institutional clients following the sale.

The bank said the disposal is expected to complete in the third quarter, subject to regulatory approvals. [Reuters]

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