HSBC teams with IMG to manage pro golfers’ investments

Tiger Woods during the final round of the HSBC Champions.

Tiger Woods during the final round of the HSBC Champions.

When HSBC recently stepped up and became the official patron of The Open Championship, the bank made clear its increased interest in golf sponsorship.

Hoping to piggy-back on the sport’s global popularity and its association with affluent consumers, HSBC now serves as a tournament sponsor for events staged around the world, from China to the Middle East to the UK.

But its latest initiative shows HSBC is focusing on some of the wealthiest people in golf circles: the world’s best professional players.

According to a report on WSJ.com, HSBC Private Bank has reached an agreement with IMG Worldwide, which manages a long roster of professional golfers including Tiger Woods, Colin Montgomerie, Sergio Garcia and Michelle Wie.

In exchange for access to sell its wealth advisory services to IMG’s stable of stars, HSBC pledges to deliver its best bank clients, presumably titans of industry, for pro-am competitions and exclusive private events. Such networking promises to yield opportunities, likely lucrative ones, for IMG’s golfers.

“It’s a great advantage of our growing relationship that we’re able to introduce IMG’s stars to bank clients who are at the top of professions in industries in which those stars may want to become involved,” Mark Pannes, global sports group director for HSBC Private Bank, told WSJ.com. The private-banking division is a part of HSBC, which has a sponsorship portfolio that includes the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, and beginning in January, the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.

Investment institutions long have targeted athletes because of their earning power, and such pursuit has only intensified as their salaries escalate exponentially. Professional golfers, in particular, are coveted because their careers can last so much longer than other sports stars.

According to WSJ.com, HSBC Private Bank’s sports practice has funds in the Asia region of “$1.5 billion under management and about 500 clients globally, who either compete in or support the world of sport.”

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