After two years heading up HSBC's early-stage investments, Catherine Zhou is moving to a CIO position focusing on wealth and private banking.

Catherine Zhou of HSBC

Catherine Zhou, who heads up UK-headquartered bank HSBC’s venture capital activities, is moving to become global chief information officer for wealth and private banking at the firm.

HSBC hired Zhou in late 2020 as head of ventures, digital innovation and partnerships following three years heading financial services firm East West Bank’s consumer banking activities. She oversaw efforts to find new profit pools and alternative business models through investments in external startups.

Zhou recently told Global Venturing she sees banking-as-a-service, cybersecurity, fraud prevention and regtech as strong areas within a wider financial technology sector increasingly moving from consumer-facing offerings to business-to-business models. She also stressed the long-term importance of blockchain and tokenisation technology despite recent issues in the cryptocurrency market.

“My focus has been refreshing our strategies and laser focusing on what’s a strategic fit for us, and then really implementing and deploying these technologies we can develop a much more open and proactive relationship with fintech companies out there,” she said.

During Zhou’s stint at HSBC, its venture investments included participating in a $200m series C round for blockchain software provider Consensys as well as nine-figure rounds for data analytics software producer Quantexa and automation technology developer Cloudbees.

The bank also launched a dedicated venture unit called HSBC Ventures in September 2021, at the same time earmarking $100m in funding for climate technology offerings being created by its clients and partners.

Robert Lavine

Robert Lavine is special features editor for Global Venturing.