HSBC launches metaverse fund for wealthy clients in Hong Kong and Singapore

Quick Take

  • HSBC’s Metaverse Discretionary Strategy portfolio is designed specifically for high and ultra-high net worth professional investors and accredited investor clients.
  • The announcement follows investments in blockchain technology firm ConsenSys and virtual real estate over the past few months.

HSBC Holdings has launched a fund focused on investment opportunities in the metaverse for wealthy clients in Singapore and Hong Kong.

According to a statement seen by Bloomberg, the Metaverse Discretionary Strategy portfolio will focus on five key areas of the metaverse: infrastructure, computing, virtualization, experience and discovery, and interface.

"The metaverse ecosystem, while still at its early stage, is rapidly evolving," Lina Lim, regional head of discretionary and funds for investments and wealth solutions, Asia Pacific, at HSBC, said in the statement, according to Reuters.

"We see many exciting opportunities in this space as companies of different backgrounds and sizes are flocking into the ecosystem," she added.

The portfolio is designed specifically for high and ultra-high net worth professional investors and accredited investor clients. It will be managed by HSBC Asset Management and “aims to capture the [metaverse] growth opportunities globally over the next decade.”

Audit, consulting and tax services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers estimated last year that the value of the global metaverse market would increase from $45.4 billion in 2019 to $1.5 trillion by 2030.

Meanwhile, a report from investment banking company Citigroup last Thursday increased that figure to $8-13 trillion by 2030.

HSBC opens up to the metaverse

HSBC appears considerably warmer towards metaverse investment than it is towards cryptocurrencies. 

It has always been fairly skeptical of crypto in general. In May 2021, HSBC CEO Noel Quinn stated the bank had no plans to launch a crypto trading desk or invest in cryptocurrencies on behalf of clients due to concerns about volatility and transparency. His comments were made during a market rout attributed to Chinese government comments about "cracking down on bitcoin mining and trading activities."

That said, in November last year, HSBC backed a $200 million funding round for blockchain technology firm ConsenSys, suggesting it may be changing its tune somewhat.

As for the metaverse, the bank is much more openly positive. Suresh Balaji, HSBC’s chief marketing officer for the Asia-Pacific region, said that the metaverse “is how individuals will experience web3, the next generation of the internet.”

It has been putting its money where its mouth is too. On March 16, the bank announced the purchase of virtual real estate in the Sandbox Metaverse, a subsidiary of venture capital company Animoca Brands.

 JP Morgan, however, was the first large bank to enter the metaverse when it opened a lounge in Decentraland in February.

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