HSBC to axe senior managers in strategy shift

HONG KONG/LONDON: HSBC is set to unveil a new round of job cuts targeting senior international managers and reduce its presence in some smaller markets as part of a wider strategy overhaul, people with knowledge of the matter said.
The changes are expected to be part of a strategy update interim Chief Executive Noel Quinn will unveil on Februay 18 with a view to boosting the profitability of Europe’s biggest bank by assets in a tough operating environment, the people said.
Quinn’s bid to restructure HSBC comes amid slowing economic growth in its major markets, an outbreak of the fast-spreading coronavirus, Britain’s protracted withdrawal from the European Union, and lower interest rates.
While it was not clear how many jobs would go, the people said the planned move would mainly hit operations in London and to a lesser extent in Asia, which contributes nearly 90% of the bank’s profits.
The review will look at HSBC’s presence in some Latin American markets, the sources said, a region that accounts for just 3% of its pre-tax profit. Apart from Mexico, its presence in other countries in the region such as Argentina is small.
The bank’s target to cut costs and simplify its notoriously complicated management setup is expected to focus on slashing a large number of global managerial roles across all business units – from investment to commercial banking, the people said.
The people spoke to Reuters on the condition of anonymity as they were not authorised by the bank to speak with the media.
HSBC has global managers looking after a wide variety of functions for most of the product lines within its business divisions. Those senior managers are backed by a string of administrative and other support staff.
“More than cost-cutting, the idea is to make the structure at the top a bit leaner and give more decision-making powers to the regional managers who are closer to the clients,” said one of the people who is aware of the internal strategy discussions. — Reuters