HSBC to cut 4,000 jobs, says Singapore ‘remains key’ to growth

green and white leafed plantsSINGAPORE: British bank HSBC will axe thousands of jobs globally in an overhaul of its operations, but said its Singapore business “remains key” to its growth.

The bank will axe 2 per cent of its workforce, or roughly 4,000 jobs, as part of a new restructuring exercise aimed at weathering global turmoil, it said on Monday (Aug 5).



HSBC had 235,217 employees as of December 2018, according to its latest annual report.

The job losses will “target more senior ranks”, chief financial officer Ewen Stevenson said in a first-half earnings conference call, adding that HSBC will pay out a total of US$650 million (S$898 million) to US$700 million in severance costs.

The bank, which makes more than 80 per cent of its profit in Asia, declined to disclose more details about the cuts, including whether the job cuts would extend to its Singapore unit.



“Singapore is one of eight strategic countries that we are investing in,” said chairman Mark Tucker in a call with media. “We are putting focus and support to the business, and it remains key to our overall Asian and Southeast Asian ambition.

“So Singapore is very much part of the future, part of the growth of the group,” he said.


HSBC on Monday also announced the shock exit of chief executive John Flint after just 18 months in the job.

His exit was a result of differences of opinion with the chairman over Mr Flint’s more tentative approach to cutting expenses and setting revenue targets for senior managers to boost profit growth, Reuters cited a person familiar with the matter as saying.

The bank disclosed the departure alongside its half-year results on Monday as it forecast a gloomier outlook for its business, with an escalation of a trade war between China and the United States, an easing monetary policy cycle, unrest in its key Hong Kong market and Brexit.

HSBC is one of several European lenders eliminating roles in recent months.

Germany’s Deutsche Bank in July slashed 18,000 jobs worldwide, London-based Barclays cut 3,000 jobs in the second quarter and France’s Societe Generale said in April it would cut 1,600 jobs.

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