Jeremy Davies: an appreciation

John Gubert remembers a well-known and much-liked colleague.

By John Gubert editors@globalcustodian.com 

Jeremy Davies, who passed away, aged 70, on 16th August in Crete after a short illness, was head of HSBC Securities Services Asia from 1993-2000. He then went to Paris as CEO of HSBC France, before retiring and moving to Scotland with his wife and children. Jeremy was a dedicated family man. He and his family spent many happy years in Asia during his long career with the HSBC Group, relishing the cultures, environment and excitement of the different countries where he was posted. His wife, Christine, and their children, Alexandra, James and Jacqui, as well as their grandchildren, will miss a much-loved husband, father, grandfather and devoted family man.

As the first global head of HSBC Securities Services, I remember him well. He was an incredible colleague. He had a deep knowledge of the HSBC Group, the Asia-Pacific region and also the Financial Institutions sector. When we were structuring HSBC Securities Services, post the Midland acquisition, he was an automatic first choice to head the fast-growing business in Asia.

But he was not just a colleague. I remember him as a friend and advisor as well. It is a daunting task for an outsider, coming from a newly acquired European bank, suddenly having a line of sight across a close-knit Asian business, such as that of HSBC. But Jeremy was a great colleague who willingly shared his knowledge and worked with the new team to grow the business in the region and across the world. I recall discussions in those early days around fund administration, stock finance and, above all, the promotion of a paperless environment in Asia. We had vaults that were full to overflowing in India, the Philippines and Indonesia and leveraged our experience from CREST and the UK’s previous many false starts to promote advances in regional markets.

Above all, I recall Jeremy as a great companion as we travelled across the Asia-Pacific region or visited clients in the US and Europe. I have memories of friendly dinners and drinks, co-presenting to clients and within HSBC, and parties or dinner at his family home on the Peak in Hong Kong.

Nick Bryan, worked for Jeremy prior to and post the launch of HSBC Securities Services. He succeeded him in 2000 as head of the, by then, much larger securities services presence in Asia, of which he was really a co-architect as head of sales and relationship management for the region. “Jeremy was an incredible boss and great personal friend,” recalls Bryan. “He delegated to those who proved themselves and supported us and our clients as we developed our pan-Asian presence.”

The reality is that it was not just that Jeremy, Nick and I who worked together well and had a common vision of where we could take the global franchise; it was also that we liked each other and were genuinely friends, wanting each to succeed and supporting each other. Jeremy retired first, followed by me and then Nick. But our sense of being a team together has survived the years and Jeremy’s untimely death will not detract from those memories. The legacy continues at HSBC with many who knew one or more of us still working there and with a client list garnered from those early days, who remain loyal to the comradeship, service ethic and culture that we and our colleagues created from the launch of the business line in 1993.