Wednesday, August 21, 2019

HSBC to axe jobs

Aug 06. 2019
Photo by BangkokBizNews
Photo by BangkokBizNews
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By The Nation

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Europe’s largest bank by assets, HSBC, is planning to cut thousands of jobs after the surprise announcement of chief executive John Flint’s departure, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Noel Quinn was appointed as interim group chief executive and as a director of HSBC Holdings, according to the company’s release on Monday.

Flint’s exit comes 18 months after he took over as CEO.

HSBC Chairman Mark Tucker said the bank will consider both internal and external candidates for the CEO job.

The job cuts will be targeted at senior roles and are expected shave up to 4 per centof the bank’s wage costs, HSBC group chief financial officer Ewen Stevenson told the Journal in an interview. The cuts would come from a combination of layoffs and attrition.

Meanwhile, on Monday, the company reported interim financial results showing strong revenue momentum in Retail Banking and Wealth Management (RBWM), as the company won new customers and increased lending, and in Commercial Banking (CMB), with growth in all major products and all regions. Global Banking and Markets (GB&M) revenue was lower.

There was also continued growth in Asia, although the outlook is less certain. Reported revenue in Asia was up 7 per cent compared with the same period last year. while lending was up $23 billion or 5 per cent compared with the end of 2018.

The press release noted investments of $2.2 billion in the first half of this year, up 17 per cent compared with the same period last year, on near- and medium-term initiatives to grow the business and enhance digital capabilities. 

Reported profit before tax was up 15.8 per cent to $12.4 billion, including an $828 million dilution gain recognised on the completion of the merger of the Saudi British Bank ('SABB') with Alawwal bank in Saudi Arabia. It also included a provision of $615 million in respect of the mis-selling of payment protection insurance ('PPI'), and $248 million of severance costs arising from cost efficiency measures across global businesses and functions. Adjusted profit before tax was up 6.8 per cent to $12.5billion.

Reported revenue was up 7.6 per cent and adjusted revenue up 8 per cent, with strong performances in RBWM and CMB. However, adjusted revenue was down 3 per cent in GB&M, which suffered from lower market activity due to ongoing economic uncertainty, and spread compression.

Operating expenses were also lower, down 2.3 per cent thanks to significant work undertaken in the first half of this year to reduce the 2020 run-rate. Earnings per share were given at $0.42 while return on average tangible equity (annualised) ('RoTE') was up 150 basis points to 11.2 per cent, including120bps favourable impact of the SABB dilution gain.

The Group noted that the outlook has changed. Interest rates in the US dollar bloc are now expected to fall rather than rise, and geopolitical issues could impact a significant number of major markets. In the near term, the nature and impact of the UK’s departure from the European Union remain highly uncertain and given the prevailing outlook for interest rates and revenue headwinds in GB&M and RBWM, the bank does not expect to achieve its 6 oer cent RoTE target in the US by 2020.

The bank is managing operating expenses and investment spending in line with the increased risks to revenue.

The bank expects some recovery from first-half market conditions in GB&M in the second half of 2019 and into next year, and continues to target a RoTE above 11 per cent in 2020, but we will not take short-term decisions that could jeopardise the long-term health of the business, the bank’s release said.

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