Clive Bannister steps down early from HSBC Insurance

HSBC's head of insurance, Clive Bannister, will be replaced at the end of March by Asia boss David Fried, Reuters reports.

Bannister, started running the insurance business in November 2006. He described the move as "early retirement" and denied to Reuters he had failed to deliver on HSBC's ambitious goals for its insurance arm.

"We believe we have one of the world's largest bancassurers, we have certainly touched one in five of our clients with insurance products and being world class is a journey that never ends. I have done my job."

In 2008, insurance contributed $2.6bn, almost 30% of a total group pretax profits, but group profits were down over 60% because of heavy writedowns.