In a recent survey of UK businesses, HSBC was ranked as the number one bank for supporting international needs. Nick Missin explains how the group maintains this level of performance, and how its global reach is making a real difference to British exporters who want to take on the best in the world.
Within a Northern Powerhouse that has already become a show of strength, collaboration and drive uniting thousands of successful companies and forming a formidable global presence, HSBC is providing an essential gateway to exporting.
For Nick Missin, HSBC’s head of trade for the North & Scotland, the determination of his customers to seek new ways of selling their goods and services has never faltered. These companies are always looking for their next customer, and with access to around 90% of world trade, HSBC could help them expand their reach.
“Despite uncertainties in the lead up to Brexit, HSBC’s customers realise that there is a long lead time when dealing with export markets, so our message to potential exporters in the North is to start that forward planning now and think about taking advice and looking for the right opportunities, because they are undoubtedly out there.
“As we work closely with our customers, we see a positive mood with a lot of enquiries from all sorts of businesses, not just with start-ups looking to take their first steps, but also a lot of mid-market, which are traditionally domestic businesses. There are now success stories in every area and in every segment of industry.”
Missin says those segments include construction, food and drink, heritage goods and oil & gas, which is enjoying a resurgence and leading to some firms repositioning themselves to take advantage of new and revitalised markets. The North is holding its head high as it competes with the world’s best companies, and for him that means HSBC investing its time and experience at every stage of its customers’ growth to make sure every ounce of potential is fulfilled.
He told BQ: “We are firm believers in the Northern Powerhouse concept and the opportunities it represents, which is one of the reasons we are co-sponsoring BQ’s Northern Powerhouse Export Awards. The journey our businesses are on can start with a simple conversation with one of our team to build on a few early ideas, or with our Export Resource Centre to start researching the next step.
“We aim to make such important moves as straightforward as possible for our customers, so the Centre is a one-click online home for insights, case studies and top tips from our trade experts and like-minded businesses, as well as detailed country guides to help them learn more about the markets they might be interested in. But this is not just ours, we have links in there to the Department of International Trade (DIT) and to the Exporting is Great site, which is a firm favourite of mine because it has thousands of overseas contracts that have been gathered together by British embassies and consulates.
“They can also use our Connections Hub to extend their networks – something that we know to be very important for firms looking to build a long-term exporting plan. Connections Hub helps our business customers from around the world connect and build relationships.
“All that is a crucial head-start for any aspirational business looking at any area of the world, from the States to Mexico, China, India, Hong Kong and Singapore. They are receptive markets for British goods and services.”
One other reason why those markets present an opportunity for UK businesses is that HSBC has people based across the globe who know their regions inside out and have built relationships that have paved the way for deals to be done.
“It is all very well having contacts with people in these areas but HSBC’s strategy is to have feet on the ground in these places to help where it matters most,” Missin says. “We have in-depth local knowledge and expertise in these countries, backed by our UK operation – and our £10bn SME fund – to form the ideal partnership to create Northern success stories.
Using its experience and reputation, HSBC can help customers take advantage of new opportunities that could become game-changing markets, such as the vast Belt and Road Initiative where China plans to spend around US$900bn on infrastructure projects across the world to link trade along a Maritime Belt and Silk Road.
Described by our Government as “a bold and visionary project” and with the UK at the Western end of the road, the potential is clear. As Missin says: “Doing the groundwork now will be crucial as our Northern Powerhouse firms look to the future of the Asian market, particularly as the Belt and Road Initiative could involve projects lasting decades. There are 65 countries linked by this plan to build the infrastructure, which brings great opportunities for construction businesses and the service industries that support them, as well as engineering and consultancy firms.
“Like so many firms we deal with, I like a challenge and with so many opportunities out there in so many different places, we have all become adept at being agile enough to react to market trends and new openings in the world and bring them to the notice of British companies who have the skills, products and drive to make the most of them.”
Start your journey today.
Visit the HSBC Export Escource Centre: www.business.hsbc.uk/export