HSBC to cut 700 UK jobs

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Banking giant HSBC is to cut 700 jobs across the UK as it prepares for a drop in demand for financial advice due to upcoming changes in the law.

The company is reshaping its wealth management business before Retail Distribution Review rules are introduced in January 2013.

The new law will mean UK banks can no longer offer financial advice for free, so HSBC expects demand for the service to decline. However, the bank will still have 1,500 advisers across the UK.

The blow to staff comes on the day Lloyds Banking Group announced 15,000 job cuts by 2014.

Unite national officer David Fleming said the union was "flabbergasted" by HSBC's staff cuts and accused the bank of attempting to "bury its own bad news" on the same day as Lloyds announced its job losses.

He said: "The workforce being hit by these extensive cuts today were in no way responsible for the banking crisis, yet it is these staff many of which are low-paid, who are having to pay for the bank's recovery."

Mr Fleming pointed out that the reported savings of £9 million HSBC is expected to make from these cuts is equivalent to the bonus for Stuart Gulliver, the bank's chief executive.

HSBC last month put its US branch network and credit cards business under review as part of a multibillion-dollar cost- cutting plan.

The group also confirmed it will exit Russia and focus on wealth management and retail banking in newer markets such as Mexico, Brazil and Turkey.

In the UK, it said it will evaluate its position once the final decision of the Independent Commission on Banking is published, which could force it to ringfence its retail business.