Daily US Times, Hong Kong: HSBC to cut 35,000 jobs, 15% of its workforce worldwide, as part of a major shake-up as it issued a warning over the impact of the coronavirus outbreak in Asia. The sacking would take place over the next three years.
Noel Quinn, the interim chief executive of the bank confirmed on Tuesday that it is a part of plans to cut $4.5bn (£3.5bn) worth of costs. He said the HSBC would expect a decrease of workforce worldwide from the current level of 235,000 to be closer to 200,000 in 2022.
“This represents one of the deepest restructuring and simplification programmes in our history.”
”There would be ‘meaningful’ job cuts in the UK”, the bank said ” mainly affecting it’s head office operations and global banks and markets business, which are largely London-based”.
It would not comment on potential branch closures in the UK but said it was keeping the network “under review”. The group employs about 40,000 staff in the UK.
Union officials called for urgent talks with HSBC over the issue.
Dominic Hook, Unite’s national officer for finance said “Despite HSBC still making billions of dollars of profit, once again hardworking and dedicated staff have woken up to the news that their job could be at risk”.
“Unite is seeking urgent discussions with senior management to understand the serious impact of this announcement and what it will mean for our members in the UK”, he added.
The UK job cuts are part of broader restructuring across the bank’s European operations, where it aims to cut costs by 25%. HSBC, which operates in 64 countries, is also targeting its US division, which will involve closing a third of its 224 branches, and said technology and automation would mean job losses across the bank as a whole. Apart from the cost-cutting, the bank also planning to shed $100bn worth of assets by the end of 2022.
HSBC said there had been significant disruption for customers, staff and suppliers particularly in Hong Kong and mainland China, and it was monitoring the situation closely.
“We expect to take additional loan loss provisions as a result of the coronavirus and the weakened outlook for the Hong Kong economy”, said the group chief financial officer, Ewen Stevenson ”I think it’s really a call on how long does it take to contain the virus, and certainly some of the latest data has given us more optimism on that over the last week or so.”