HSBC cuts jobs to fo­cus on Asia

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS BEAT -

HSBC Hold­ings, Europe’s largest bank by mar­ket value, will cut up to 25,000 jobs glob­ally to re­duce costs and shift its cen­ter of grav­ity fur­ther to­ward the fast-grow­ing Asian economies where it started out 150 years ago.

The Lon­don-based group, which is worth $184 bil­lion, about the same as U.S. gi­ant Bank of Amer­ica, said Tues­day that it is “re­de­ploy­ing re­sources to cap­ture ex­pected fu­ture growth op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

Though it has not yet de­cided whether to move its head­quar­ters, the bank is clear on where it thinks its com­mer­cial fu­ture lies — China and the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion.

The bank wants to cap­i­tal­ize on Asia’s rapidly ex­pand­ing class of newly wealthy.

Many West­ern banks have sought to bol­ster op­er­a­tions in Asia, but HSBC has the ad­van­tage of al­ready hav­ing a ma­jor pres­ence there. About 75% of its 2014 profit was gen­er­ated in the re­gion, even though it has only about a third of its staff there and its as­sets are dwarfed by those it con­trols in Europe.

HSBC was founded in Hong Kong in 1865 to fi­nance grow­ing trade be­tween China and Europe, much of it in­volv­ing opium. Its orig­i­nal name: Hong Kong and Shang­hai Bank­ing Corp.

HSBC, which has op­er­a­tions in more than 70 coun­tries and about 51 mil­lion cus­tomers, aims to cut costs by $4.5 bil­lion to $5 bil­lion by the end of 2017 and re­duce the num­ber of full-time em­ploy­ees by about 10%, or be­tween 22,000 and 25,000.

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