New York (July 1, 2002) -- Bank holding company HSBC USA Inc has signed a tentative deal for some partners of Arthur Andersen LLP's U.S. Private Client Service Practice to join a new HSBC Private Client Services Group.HSBC said it has signed a memorandum of understanding to pay Andersen roughly $15 million for the release of the partners and the acquisition of certain assets.

HSBC plans to form a new company, Wealth and Tax Advisory Services Inc., that will serve high net worth individuals in the U.S. The company, which will be a wholly owned subsidiary of HSBC USA Inc., will employ 25 former Andersen partners and principals and 180 other former Andersen personnel.

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