SINGAPORE (Reuters) – HSBC has launched a fund to capture investment opportunities in the metaverse for its rich clients in Hong Kong and Singapore as financial services companies tap into Silicon Valley’s new virtual reality.
In a statement on Wednesday, HSBC said its Metaverse Discretionary Strategy portfolio, managed by its asset management arm, will focus on investing within the metaverse ecosystem across five segments – infrastructure, computing, virtualisation, experience and discovery, and interface.
“The metaverse ecosystem, while still at its early stage, is rapidly evolving,” said Lina Lim, regional head of discretionary and funds for investments and wealth solutions, Asia Pacific, at HSBC. “We see many exciting opportunities in this space as companies of different backgrounds and sizes are flocking into the ecosystem.”
The metaverse comprises a network of virtual environments accessed via different devices where users can work, socialise and play. It has come into sharper focus since Facebook changed its name to Meta last year to reflect its bet on the sector.
HSBC said its discretionary portfolio was designed for its high net worth and ultra-high net worth professional investors and accredited investor clients in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Last month, HSBC said it was buying a plot of virtual real estate in online gaming space The Sandbox for an undisclosed sum, becoming the second global bank to invest in a popular metaverse platform after JPMorgan set up a presence in blockchain-based Decentraland. JPMorgan also issued a paper the same day exploring potential businesses opportunities in the metaverse.
HSBC is putting $3.5 billion into its wealth and personal banking business, in line with its ambition to become Asia’s top wealth manager by 2025.
Global wealth managers, including UBS and Credit Suisse, have been ramping up headcount in Asia as countries such as China and India minted more billionaires and millionaires.
(Reporting by Anshuman Daga; editing by Barbara Lewis)