Payment Connections: Q&A With HSBC Global Head Of Payments Solutions Manish Kohli

Manish Kohli, Global Head of Global Payments Solutions at HSBC, speaks to Global Finance about changes to the digital banking sector and implementing global payments solutions.

Global Finance: It is almost exactly one year since you joined HSBC. What strategic developments are in place to ensure the bank’s continued success?

Manish Kohli: Our ambition is to be the world’s best international cash management and payments provider and bring HSBC’s network seamlessly to our clients. To help achieve this ambition, we are focusing on areas of competitive advantage, future-proofing solutions, digitising client service, and investing for success in a digital world.  We recently updated our strategy and committed to actions which will fundamentally reshape our division into a technology-enabled, globally connected payments franchise and better support clients’ needs. We also introduced a new name for our business—Global Payments Solutions (GPS) from Global Liquidity and Cash Management (GLCM). This reflects our global network and reach, our role in facilitating commerce for our clients, and the insightful solutions we provide our customers to support their efficiency and growth objectives.

GF: The combined impact of the global pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has weakened the economy and boosted inflation to the highest rate in four decades. What lessons can we heed from the global financial crisis to prepare for what may be next?

Kohli: The global financial crisis created a shift in the way that companies looked to optimise the cash conversion cycle, enhance visibility and realign their cash flows to build buffers. We recognise that businesses are now facing similar pressures to adjust their operations and realign their business models. Our Global Payments Solutions business is uniquely positioned to offer innovative payments and receivables products and digital banking services to help customers future proof solutions, streamline processes and create efficiencies. We understand that trust is the driver of our business, not only in our products, but also in that we will be there when our clients need us, particularly as they navigate the current climate. 

GF: ESG is important to businesses of all kinds but balancing it with growth is a challenge. How can GPS drive innovation to help achieve this?

Kohli: The biggest impact we can make is by working with our customers to support their transition to lower carbon emissions. In GPS, we are digitising all our client journeys and experiences, which has a direct impact on sustainability, including the use of less paper and plastic. We are focused on making payments more accessible globally, helping to break down barriers, and we are improving end to end transparency of payer/beneficiary information, which can allow more businesses to choose sustainable buyers and suppliers. At HSBC, we have expanded our Green Deposit products across markets globally, and more recently, we have started to support our clients to invest their excess liquidity into ESG thematic funds.  The coverage of markets where our solutions are offered enables multinational corporates to invest their liquidity across several currencies through a common set of standards, helping them achieve consistency and efficiency.

GF: What will be single greatest catalyst for change in digital banking, both for the future of GPS, and the individuals that work in the sector?

Kohli: While it is difficult to name the single greatest catalyst, one of the most significant drivers for change in digital banking is the shift we are seeing amongst businesses towards digital commerce with direct distribution models that are interconnected, always-on and inherently global. Companies are also increasingly looking to build their own buyer/supplier platforms and consumer portals to connect better with their customers. Additionally, corporates are seeking to integrate financial services (such as payments) into their own customer proposition, at the point of sale, to deliver better experiences for their customers. These shifts will raise the bar for what is considered the minimum requirements for payments and cash management competitive capabilities across banks.