Serious about Higher Education

What does our specialist Sector team do?

Headed by Suzy Verma, our Public Sector & Higher Education team plays an integral part in our relationships with UK universities. With a breadth and depth of experience drawn from the HE and corporate sectors, we provide valuable industry knowledge to HSBC colleagues and clients alike.

Since its 2015 inception, our team has provided our local relationship directors with expertise and connections as they engage in strategic discussions with new and established university clients. We understand the challenges faced by UK universities, and work at a senior level within the bank to make available the right banking products and solutions to support the sector’s needs. We provide thought leadership at key sector events, and contribute to industry research and white papers.

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.

Business Partnerships

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 number of public bonds they issue. HSBC has acted as bookrunner on all public bond issuances in the sector to date. Our team’s experience of debt issuance, allied to HSBC’s wider services, amplifies the support we can provide in the sector.

In summary

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.

Examples of our support for universities across the UK

  • HSBC delivered a £50m facility for University of Wales Trinity St David as part of Swansea’s regeneration scheme, creating a regional business and research hub.

    The partnership with the Welsh government and the City and County of Swansea will connect education with business and enterprise, enhancing Swansea’s credentials as a ‘city of innovation’.

  • HSBC sourced £20m of funding for City, University of London to upgrade existing infrastructure and expand facilities.

    Over a 10-year period, the extensive investment programme will be used to bring in new academic staff and programmes, expand information technology and make ongoing estates improvements.

    To find out how our Public Sector and Higher Education experts could help you, email Deirdre Cloake at or call 03455 847715

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