HSBC to cut 35,000 jobs worldwide as profits plunge

HSBC has said it will slash 35,000 jobs over three years as part of a major shake-up at the banking giant, after revealing that annual profits plunged 33%.

The bank also issued a warning over the coronavirus outbreak in Asia, which makes up the bulk of its profits, saying it could have an impact on its performance in 2020.

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HSBC’s interim chief executive, Noel Quinn, confirmed that the bank would make big cuts to its workforce as part of its radical overhaul. The job cuts represent about 15% of the group’s global workforce and the figure is far larger than the 10,000 that analysts had been expecting.

“The totality of this programme is that our headcount is likely to go from 235,000 to closer to 200,000 over the next three years,” Quinn told Reuters.

The lender, which operates in 64 countries, did not say which regions would be hardest hit by the job cuts. However, its London-based investment banking business is thought to be vulnerable. The group employs about 40,000 staff in the UK.

HSBC’s profits before tax for 2019 dropped 33% to $13.3bn (£10.2bn) and the bank said the job cuts are part of a plan to reduce costs by $4.5bn by 2022.

On the coronavirus outbreak, Quinn said there had been significant disruption for staff, suppliers and customers, particularly in mainland China and Hong Kong.

“Depending on how the situation develops, there is the potential for any associated economic slowdown to impact our expected credit losses in Hong Kong and mainland China,” he said.

“Longer term, it is also possible that we may see revenue reductions from lower lending and transaction volumes, and further credit losses stemming from disruption to customer supply chains. We continue to monitor the situation closely.”

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