Public Affairs: Quiller lands HSBC public affairs work

Quiller Consultants has emerged triumphant in the battle for HSBC's six-figure UK public affairs business.

The Huntsworth-owned agency will replace Burson-Marsteller on the account, following a competitive pitch.

It is the second major public affairs retainer Quiller has landed in recent weeks, after it wrestled the O2 account from Bell Pottinger Public Affairs last month (PRWeek, 9 October).

Industry sources suggested Quiller was making an active push to capitalise on its Conservative credentials, as companies seek to build links with David Cameron's party.

Quiller co-founder Jonathan Hill previously headed the Downing Street policy unit under John Major, while senior consultant George Bridges recently worked as Conservative Party campaign director.

The HSBC account is thought to be worth about £150,000 annually in fees. The bank kicked off the search for a new public affairs agency in September after less than a year with B-M, which did not repitch. It has also hired Brunswick to handle EU affairs.

HSBC global comms director Richard Beck told PRWeek: 'One of the features of this financial crisis has been the transformation of bank news from the financial pages to front pages, and from select committees to front benches. HSBC is one bank that hasn't needed recourse to taxpayer money and is set apart by its signature financial strength ...

'It's a level of differentiation that deserves stating and protecting in PR and public policy terms.'

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