HSBC announces 35,000 job cuts as profits plunge by a third


HSBC has revealed it will cut 35,000 jobs over the next three years as part of a widespread overhaul.

The bank said it was targeting $4.5bn (£3.5bn) of cost cuts by 2022 while scaling back $100bn (£70bn) of assets.

The cutbacks come as profits for 2019 fell by 33%, mainly due to HSBC’s investment and commercial banking operations in Europe.

Details of the spending cuts were unveiled by Noel Quinn, currently serving as interim chief executive.

HSBC, which makes the bulk of its revenue in Asia, reported annual profit before tax of $13.35bn (£10.3bn).

The bank currently operates in more than 50 countries across North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. It employs more than 235,000 people around the world, with more than 40,000 based in the UK.

HSBC said the drop in profits was due to $7.3bn in write-offs related to its global banking and markets and commercial banking business units in Europe.

The strategy overhaul comes as economic growth is slowing in HSBC’s major markets. It is also facing the impact of the coronavirus, Britain’s protracted withdrawal from the European Union and historically low interest rates around the world. It will be the UK-based bank’s third overhaul in a decade as it attempts to lift its profits.

Asia accounts for around half of HSBC’s revenue and 90% of profits.

The division, which includes HSBC’s investment bank, has continued to do less well than its commercial and retail banking businesses.

Mr Quinn, the 57-year-old HSBC veteran, was appointed interim chief executive in August last year following the ousting of John Flint. HSBC reiterated that it expects to make a permanent appointment within the next six to 12 months.

Addressing the impact of coronavirus, HSBC said the full effect has not been fully accounted for in today’s earnings, raising the possibility that it could further increase the amount it expects the outbreak to cost the bank.