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In this installment of the SAAB Spotlight On series, we hear from Alison McGregor, CEO Scotland for HSBC and member of the SAAB Group Board.

What does the company do?

HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations.

We serve around 38 million customers through four global businesses: Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Commercial Banking, Global Banking and Markets, and Global Private Banking. Our network covers 67 countries and territories in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, North America and Latin America.

These four global businesses are all represented in HSBC Scotland, from retail branches for HSBC and M&S Bank, contact centres, commercial centres, HSBC Security Services to HSBC Private Bank and a Risk Centre of Excellence.

We employ over 4,000 people in Scotland and plan to increase our headcount in the next 12 months.


How long have you worked at HSBC?

I joined HSBC in March 2013 as Corporate Director UK North, before being promoted to the role of CEO Scotland in 2014, responsible for the HSBC Group in Scotland.

Prior to joining HSBC I was the UK National Director for Corporate and Structured Banking at National Australia Group, having spent the bulk of my career prior to that at Barclays Bank.

What’s a typical day for you?

As well as being CEO Scotland for HSBC, I sit on the boards of Scottish Enterprise, the Beatson Cancer Charity and SAAB, and until recently I was Chair of CBI Scotland, so every day can be very different. I can go from visiting an HSBC client’s business to speaking at a public event, to chairing a board meeting or attending a roundtable discussion with politicians.

My base is Glasgow but I love heading to our different sites. I am committed to meeting each new person that begins employment with us and enjoy providing an overview of our business whilst engaging with all employees. 


SAAB brings key stakeholders together, employers, education and government to discuss and inform how we create pathways to work.

Alison McGregor, CEO Scotland for HSBC and member of the SAAB Group Board

 Do you have an apprenticeship programme at HSBC?

The HSBC Apprenticeship is designed for individuals who do not go to university but would like to gain professional qualifications while working in our retail branch network, commercial business centres, IT and/or operational departments.

The apprenticeship has two entry points, directly to school or college leavers and also to existing employees who joined HSBC at an entry-level position. It leads to recognition against industry standard competencies as well as leading to the opportunity to gain a professional knowledge-based qualification. Some of these professional qualifications can lead, with further study, to a banking degree.

The programme also enables Apprentices to meet new people, develop a professional network, and be supported and guided by an experienced team of trainers and coaches, while earning a competitive salary, with other benefits such as annual bonuses and holiday entitlement.

What is your vision for growing the apprenticeship offer in Scotland?

More opportunity. We don’t apply an age limit to apprenticeships and therefore when people are ready for formal learning they can take it up. 

Why do you think the work of the Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board is important?

SAAB brings key stakeholders together, employers, education and government to discuss and inform how we create pathways to work.   

What is your biggest business achievement to date?

It is difficult to pin point one thing but I am very proud to be the CEO of HSBC Scotland, a business that actively supports the growth of the Scottish economy.  

Which businessperson or company do you most admire and why?

I admire three people I have never met. The Robertson sisters, (Miss Agnes, Miss Ethel and Miss Elspeth) inherited a drinks business from their grandfather, now known as Edrington. They stipulated all dividends from Edrington be passed to a new charitable trust to be known as The Robertson Trust.

The business is now a global drinks business and The Robertson Trust still exists providing much needed financial support to many charities.  

What’s on your desktop?

A photo of my family.

What did you want to be as a child?

A princess.

What three words sum you up?

Energetic, Authentic and Inspiring (I am told!)