Europe’s largest bank, which is headquartered in the UK, cut 11,000 jobs last year, and has said it will continue to make savings throughout the course of this year while also cutting staff and moving others from the continent and the US to help with its push in Asia. HSBC has set out a revised strategy to include more focus on wealth management in Asia, where most of its profits come from, in order to mitigate its exposure to record low interest rates in retail and business banking throughout Europe.
The financial giant has not yet detailed the total number of jobs it is planning to cut but warned its back office operations would account for most of the roles impacted.
HSBC later admitted it will probably cut a third of the ,000 roles in its finance department as part of the process.
This would take place over several years and would slash its current global office space in half as more people are able to work from home as a result of the ongoing coronavirus restrictions.
The bank did however say it will retain its headquarters in London’s Canary Wharf, although its other major office sites in the capital will be closed.
But as the weakened future profit targets were examined in more detail, London-listed shares fell by almost one percent.
HSBC chief executive Noel Quinn said the bank’s mandate last year was to “provide stability in a highly unstable environment for our customers, communities and colleagues”.
He added: “I believe we achieved that in spite of the many challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and heightened geopolitical uncertainty.
“Our people delivered an exceptional level of support for our customers in very tough circumstances, while our strong balance sheet and liquidity gave reassurance to those who rely on us.
“We achieved this while delivering a solid financial performance in the context of the pandemic – particularly in Asia – and laying firm foundations for our future growth.”
HSBC suggested loan losses in Europe as a result of the impacts from the Covid pandemic are a key driver in the focus shifting towards Asia.
The move has quickly been welcomed by shareholders, with the firm’s Hong Kong-traded stock surging six percent.
There has also been a return to dividend payments announced, which is the first since October 2019.
This comes after the Bank of England revealed all big lenders are being blocked rom paying dividends or buying back shares in 2020 to conserve capital.
HSBC has revealed a cash dividend of 11p-per-share for last year and is now looking at an interim dividend for 2021.
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