What trends are we noticing in the sector?
The HE sector is now intensely competitive as students, mindful of fees, exercise greater thoughtfulness in their selection process. Continued investment in facilities and academic offerings is essential in delivering an education experience that will attract both domestic and overseas students. With access to EU research funding and students uncertain, the pressure is on to perform.
There is a sustained emphasis on ‘internationalisation’ projects as universities look for growth outside the UK and Europe. Partnerships with overseas education providers overseas are a way of delivering the core qualities of a UK education to meet international demand.
Universities are forging deeper relationships with the business community through both research and teaching collaborations, including degree apprenticeship programmes. These new links help ensure that students leave higher education with the right qualifications to safeguard both their own future and that of industry in general.
What do we predict for HE in coming years?
With universities able to enrol as many students as they can accommodate and a stated government intention of simplifying the process for HE providers entering the market, competition in the UK will only increase. The winners will be those providers who can demonstrate the best educational and recreational facilities, the highest level of pastoral care, plus the strongest connections with domestic and international industry.
With more UK universities funding their own improvement programmes, we've seen a rise in the use of bank debt markets, private placements and the number of public bonds institutions offer. HSBC has acted as agent and/or bookrunner on all recent public bond issuances in the sector. Our team's experience of debt issuance, allied to HSBC's wider services, amplifies the support we can provide in the sector.
The HE sector is increasingly competitive, both at home and overseas. Investment is essential in facilities, technologies and teaching quality. Strong partnerships with business will be critical for an institution’s survival. The bottom line is that more HE clients are looking to source more funding, connect with local business partners and seek out valuable international collaboration opportunities. The HSBC team is ideally placed to facilitate these activities for UK universities’ future success.