HSBC/Merrill Lynch Net venture in $100m trawl

The online joint venture between commercial bank HSBC and investment bank Merrill Lynch is talking to advertising agencies about its estimated $100m (&£63m) worldwide business.

Executives at the new bank, which has yet to be named, have seen a number of agencies with global networks. J Walter Thompson, which handles Merrill Lynch’s $90m (&£54m) global ad spend, is understood to be pitching.

The joint venture was launched in April as part of a $1bn (&£630m) deal. Both partners have an equal share (MW April 20).

It will launch in the UK later this year, and will then be rolled out to Canada, Australia, Germany, Hong Kong and Japan.

The global bank will target high earners – people with $100,000 to $500,000 (&£65,000 to &£300,000) to invest.

It aims to attract the 10 million global households which have access to the Internet, by offering a range of accounts including unit trusts, mortgages, debit cards and stockbroking services.

Customers will be able to access their accounts through Link cash machines and a dedicated network of kiosks.

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