Steve Ho pulls out a sleek black credit card and drops it on a table at Vancouver’s Botanist restaurant. Noticeably thin, the card makes a distinctly loud clacking noise as it hits the surface. This, it turns out, is not your average piece of plastic. In fact, it’s not plastic at all.
Exclusive to members of HSBC Jade—the bank’s invite-only club for its top-wealth clients—this World Elite Mastercard is made of steel. “I believe this is one of the first steel credit cards in the market,” says Ho, HSBC Canada’s head of branch network. “This is about the experience that clients are looking for.”
A truly elite service, Jade is HSBC’s private banking offering of wealth management services along with what Ho calls “lifestyle management.” That means beyond the actual banking perks (a personalized relationship manager, investment counsellor, and wealth planner, for starters), Jade members—who must have $1 million or more in investible assets—have access to cultural, culinary, and lifestyle events and partnerships that exist only for them.
Most notably, they get uninhibited use of Ten Lifestyle Group, which Ho describes as “one of the leading world concierge services.” Want a table at a fully booked restaurant like Osteria Francescana? No problem. Need a tee time at Pebble Beach, or a last-minute reservation at Cliveden House? They can make it happen.
Also included in Jade are partnerships with leading brands like Small Luxury Hotels of the World and Artspace, along with one-off events in various cities. A recent pop-up in Toronto, for example, had BMW show two unreleased models strictly to Jade clients. And tonight, Toronto-based Ho is in Vancouver (where Jade has its own space within HSBC’s main branch on Georgia Street) to host Journey Through Flavour: a private dinner at Botanist.
With a menu created exclusively for this evening by executive chef Hector Laguna, the dinner is a blind tasting, meaning the dishes are not revealed until they are placed on the table. The point? To tantalize, to excite, to stimulate; without a menu sheet to reference, anticipation for each dish is built and engagement between service staff and guests is sparked. Along with welcome cocktails dreamed up specifically for the event by head bartender Grant Sceney (complete with ice cubes stamped with the HSBC logo), plus an impeccable mostly biodynamic wine list curated by expert sommelier Jill Spoor, the evening feels intimate, high-class, and special.
Standouts from Laguna’s menu include Sunchoke Soup with sorrel, roasted sunchokes, and sea asparagus, paired with Okanagan winery Le Vieux Pin’s Equinoxe Viognier; Pan Roasted Sablefish with potato, black kale, and alba white truffles, alongside a Les Vergers 1er Cru from Domaine Seguin-Manuel, Chassagne-Montrachet in Burgundy; and Oven Roasted Bison Strip Loin with foraged mushrooms, winter squash, and grilled fig, partnered with a Spottswoode cabernet sauvignon from Napa Valley. Beautiful, elegant, and full of flavour, Laguna’s West Coast-inspired dishes perfectly complement the ethos of Jade: local yet global, luxurious yet comfortable.
“We use these two words a lot: ‘special, exclusive.’ That’s how we want [clients] to feel. This is not just business, this is not just banking,” Ho says. “Usually when we talk about private banking it’s about wealth management, it’s about wealth—that’s important, but we also believe that other than wealth, these clients are looking for advice and service on something else.” It’s a discreet and elegant position, like the subtle flash of a weighty black credit card.
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