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27 October 2019

HSBC to commence job cuts across Middle East, North Africa

The emphasis on cost cuts has been reinforced by Chairman Mark Tucker, who recently told some employees the bank needs to improve its return on capital.

shutterstock/Willy Barton

HSBC Holdings is embarking on a fresh round of job cuts, targeting hundreds of employees in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey as the latest part of the lender’s ongoing cost-reduction programme, reportedBloomberg.

The global banking, markets as well as commercial banking units may bear the brunt of the reductions, which are due to start in November 2019. HSBC employs four per cent of its total workforce in the region or around 9,600 full-time staff.

Noel Quinn, who took over as acting Chief Executive Officer in August 2019 after the ouster of former CEO John Flint, has planned a series of retrenchments as he’s signalled, he wants the top job on a permanent basis. The bank may partially exit stock trading in some developed Western markets and will attempt to sell its French retail bank, a move that could remove as many as 8,000 staff from the payroll.

HSBC will announce its third-quarter results this week amid a backdrop of geopolitical turmoil. The CEO will be under pressure to show investors how HSBC plans to manage the hit from Hong Kong’s slowing economy and navigate China’s trade war with the US, while still boosting growth in Asia.

The cuts in the Middle East and North Africa come as HSBC continues its Project Oak cost-reduction measures, which commenced earlier this year. Project Oak was launched under Flint and focuses mainly on shedding jobs.

While giving managers the green light for growth in a recent meeting, Tucker also said the bank was destroying value on a daily basis given the poor return on shareholders’ capital.

HSBC Chairman told managers that more than 30 per cent of the bank’s capital was generating returns of less than one per cent. Additionally, Tucker also gave staff a glimpse of his vision for HSBC at the meeting, singling out JPMorgan Chase & Co. as a template for the bank. The Chairman also spoke of the need for the lender to regain the position it held under former CEO William Purves, who led the company during its 1992 takeover of Midland Bank, the note said.

Since taking over two months ago, Quinn has attempted to chart his own course for HSBC, telling staff last month that he was more than just a caretaker boss.





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