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February 19, 2020

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Massive layoffs at HSBC

HSBC will eliminate 35,000 jobs as part of a deep overhaul to focus on faster-growing Asian markets as it tries to cope with a slew of global uncertainties, from Brexit to trade wars to the coronavirus.

Interim chief executive Noel Quinn said yesterday the number of employees will fall from 235,000 to 200,000 in the next three years, some of which will come via attrition.

The bank’s net profit fell 53 percent to US$6 billion in 2019, and it warned of “significant disruption” to its business due to the viral epidemic in China.

HSBC’s operations in Europe are also under pressure amid Britain’s departure from the European Union and uncertainty surrounding future trade relations.

“No trade negotiation is ever straightforward. It is essential that the eventual agreement protects and fosters the many benefits that financial services provide to both the UK and the EU,” HSBC said in a statement.

The eye-popping head count reduction comes during a wave of downsizing in Europe. The restructure involves “consolidating” some business parts and “reorganizing global functions and the head office,” Quinn said.

The bank’s corporate overhaul is designed to boost profitability by focusing on high-growth markets in Asia while eliminating businesses and workers in other countries. It also intends to shed US$100 billion in assets.


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