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HSBC sells Australian margin lending portfolio

HSBC has sold its Australian margin lending portfolio to local firm St.George Bank as it continues its policy to restructure its local operations to focus on core business areas and best leverage opportunities.

Purchaser St.George is the fifth largest banking group in Australia and it provides a full range of retail and business banking, and wealth management services to more than 2.6 million customers nationally.

Stuart Davis, CEO of HSBC Bank in Australia, said: The sale of our margin lending portfolio follows the recent disposal of HSBC Stockbroking. The two were highly integrated, with HSBC Stockbroking carrying out the administration for all our margin lending customers. St.George presented an attractive offer and ensures our customers have access to award-winning margin loan products.

The book value of the divested portfolio was $324 million as of the end of July 2006.