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Business News

HSBC axes over 1,000 jobs as bank 'evolves'


HSBC announced job cuts today, impacting on thousands of its staff, over the “changing nature” of the business as well as regulation.

The bank said the move will lead to a potential reduction of 1,149 roles, but the Unite union said more than 2,000 were being axed.

The union said the announcement was a "disgrace" and warned that it had not ruled out balloting its members for industrial action.

HSBC said a total of 3,166 employees will be affected by the changes, but it added that 2,017 jobs are being created, with most filled by displaced employees.

"In order for HSBC to better meet the needs of customers who use its wealth management and advice services, the most significant changes are being proposed within the bank's wealth business," it said in a statement.

"From 1st June, the bank will combine all existing wealth advisers within HSBC's consumer retail banking business. New roles will also be added to create a diploma-qualified adviser force of 853 people."

Chief executive Brian Robertson said: "I understand change is always unsettling, particularly for those directly affected. However, I also firmly believe what we are proposing is essential in order for us to fulfil our customers' expectations.

"With the banking behaviour of our customers continually evolving, we must change our business to meet their needs.

"We are doing everything possible to offer impacted employees opportunities from the many newly created roles, and I'm confident a significant majority will remain with the bank."

Antonio Simoes, head of the UK bank, added: "Better serving our customers, particularly for their wealth management needs, is essential if we are to fulfil our aspiration of becoming the world's leading international bank.

"These proposals, together with the recent removal of all sales targets for our employees and the complete decoupling of incentives from those sales, mean our customers can expect us to fully focus on serving their needs and do the right thing.

"Evolving and improving our culture will take time but the changes announced today are another step in the right direction."

The bank said it is also making changes to some roles in its commercial banking business and will reduce the number of its business specialist roles and increase the number of its international business managers across the country.

Unite said displaced workers will be able to reapply for the new roles, but the union said most will either not have the right qualifications or will be based in the wrong part of the country to be able to secure an alternative job.

Officials pointed out that three months ago HSBC announced it was planning to close its final salary pension scheme, reduce holiday entitlement and sick pay, while 4,000 jobs cuts were announced last year.

Unite national officer Dominic Hook said: "HSBC is making staff suffer in the search for ever greater profits.

"The bank's behaviour is a disgrace. After making proposals to slash pensions, holidays and sick pay, the bank is now slashing even more jobs.

"Staff are at the end of their tether and we will be asking them in due course if they are prepared to take part in a strike ballot to oppose this unprecedented attack by this very profitable bank.

"The cuts HSBC is making will affect the whole business and will mean fewer personal advisers serving more customers and small and medium-size businesses getting less support when they should be getting more.

"These cuts are about putting profits before people and will do nothing to improve service or the image of the banking industry."