Crisis at HSBC?
Photo: AP
Photo: Sivan Farag
HSBC Israel CEO Yehuda Levi
Photo: Sivan Farag
Israel desk execs pull up stakes at HSBC
Number of executives at international bank's Israeli desk in New York hand in collective resignation, will move to rival bank UBS. HSBC Israel CEO Yehuda Levi: Neither Julius Baer nor UBS are in our league
Four executives from HSBC's Israeli desk in New York, headed by the managing director – Head of Israel Issac Doueck, announced their collective resignation two days ago, Calcalist has learned.


The four will move to the Israeli desk at USB New York, which has recently expanded its activity in Israel. The four will not be subordinate to CEO of UBS Wealth Management Israel Kobi Faigenbaum, but will hold concurrent authority.


The resignation was delivered to global head of Israel at HSBC Geneva, Judah Elmaleh, and to CEO and country manager Israel, Yehuda Levi.


Several weeks ago, senior representative in the Tel Aviv of HSBC's Israeli desk in New York, Simon Hakim, left his job as well.


The recent event follows a major crisis at HSBC, wherein five of its executives, among them executives of the bank's Israeli desk in Zurich headed by the managing director - Head of Israel Dan Sagi, left their positions at the bank. This resignation was not publicized by the bank.


During the past two years, a number of execs left HSBC's Swiss branch and its Geneva office. The succession of resignations marks the disintegration of HSBC's Israeli desks in Zurich, Geneva, Singapore and New York.


Estimates in the banking system are that the resignations may lead to loss of customers and accounts in amounts of billions of dollars to other banks.


The bankers who left the Zurich branch transferred to Swiss bank Julius Baer, which is opening a branch in Israel.


HSBC Israel CEO Yehuda Levi commented on the New York resignations, saying that the problem was a local administrative issue that was resolved.


"We heard of no problem in the customer activity area. We keep in touch with our customers and will be recruiting new employees who are just as good as those who had left. We are in favor of employee mobility and we are pleased to say that our customers are unwavering."


Levi added in a sharp tone uncharacteristic of bankers, "Neither Julius Baer nor UBS are in HSBC's league. Just check out which banks needed governmental bailout in the last crisis (meaning UBS G.H. and R. B.).


"As far as we're concerned, this is not a crises but a local problem. The New York resignations are in no way connected to the Swiss resignation six months ago."


The resignations were sparked by the reorganization of HSBC's Israeli activity which until recently was overseen by three divisions – an Israeli branch, a Swiss office and a US office.


Both offices were charged with the task of recruiting Israeli customers and assigning them to Doueck's New York Israel desk or to Sagi's Zurich desk.


At a certain point HSBC decided to close down the foreign offices and assimilate their employees into the Israeli branch under Yehuda Levi, a move that was followed by the resignations.


The resignations of the New York and Zurich employees stems from the lack of confidence in the company on part of the resigning executives and from concerns that the new structure will hinder their efforts to attract new business from the Israeli market under the new structure.


"This is a resignation of the bank's paramount employees in Switzerland, New York and Tel Aviv which were pushed to take this step. This is a demonstrative move which casts a shadow in the bank's Israeli activity," said a source with knowledge of the affair.


Raheli Bindman contributed to this report


Click here to read this report in Hebrew



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