HSBC's private banking business has been little hit by the ongoing credit crisis, the head of the bank's private banking business, Chris Meares, told a Swiss newspaper.

The stock portfolios of our clients have suffered no major losses so far, although liquidity has diminished in the money markets significantly, Meares told Swiss paper Finanz und Wirtschaft in an interview published on Saturday.

We were also barely affected by the correction in the hedge fund area.

Meares said the bank was cautious with regards to the development on the financial markets in the short run.

You could expect more negative news in the near term, he said.

But we have a good feeling on the longer run. Growth of the global economy is robust, unemployment is low and the valuations of stocks are low by historical comparisons, Meares said.

Meares said HSBC had stayed away from acquisitions recently due to the high prices of possible targets.

Prices are too high, he said.

On the other hand we had no need for acquisitions in recent years. Our earlier acquisitions helped us to get the global coverate of the private-banking market we wanted.