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HSBC has revived its layoff plan of cutting 35,000 jobs due to a profit fall and negative economic outlook, as revealed in an internal memo sent from HSBC CEO Noel Quinn on Wednesday.

The plan, which is part of a restructuring programme proposed in February to cut US$4.5bn (HK$34.9bn) in costs by 2022, was halted in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Quinn said that it would be wrong to push staff out in the extraordinary circumstances.

“I wish I could say that the next few months will see a return to normality but that is unlikely to be the case. We could not pause the job losses indefinitely – it was always a question of ‘not if, but when’,” Quinn said.

Some of the job cuts are likely in the back office at global banking and markets (GBM) and senior bankers in the UK who work in GBM and HSBC’s head office, as well as support staff in its businesses around the world. The bank will also review less-profitable areas of business.

Quinn also urged senior executives to find ways to cut more costs before the end of year.

Apart from axeing 35,000 jobs, HSBC will extend its hiring freeze. 

The story was first published by Reuters.