Australia Won't Be Immune As HSBC Shapes Up For 14,000 Job Cuts

Getty/Justin Sullivan

A fresh round of efficiency measures announced by HSBC PLC chief executive Stuart Gulliver could spell jobs cuts in the bank’s Australian business.

London-Based HSBC is seeking up to $US3 billion in additional annual savings by 2016, to add to the $US4 billion already achieved, which will see it shed as many as 14,000 more jobs over the period.

While it could not confirm details, HSBC Australia said today it would continue to seek “efficiencies” and could not rule out headcount reduction in Australia.

HSBC boss Stuart Gulliver

“As stated at our Annual Results in March, there are no Bank-wide initiatives taking place in Asia at present but we will continue to focus on seeking efficiencies as you would expect a company to do,” Spokesperson Tala Jahangiri told Business Insider in an emailed statement.

“This phase is about re-engineering and simplification.

“We’ll continue to recruit selectively in target markets and in Risk and Compliance. The HSBC Group strategy continues to focus our expansion and resources on the world’s fastest growing economies, particularly in Asia,” Jahangiri said.

Currently across the group HSBC employees 254,000 people. Between 2014 and 2016 it wants to cut this number to between 240,000 and 250,000.

“We have not provided specific details of any impacted geography or business,” Jahangiri said.

HSBC employs roughly 1800 people in Australia. It is unlikely any potential job cuts would be drastic. While it did not provide detail on where the positions would be cut, the bank said the losses would be “spread thinly” when they were announced in an investor presentation yesterday.

Gulliver has already cut 46,000 jobs and sold or closed 52 businesses since he took office in 2011.

“HSBC is now simpler, easier to manage and ready to take advantage of growth opportunities,” Gulliver said in a statement.

“We are confident that these measures will deliver consistent and superior financial results and move us closer to achieving our ambition of being the world’s leading international bank.”

Earlier this month the bank said it made a pre-tax profit of $8.4 billion for the first three months of 2013, which is nearly twice as much as it did over the same period last year.

Gulliver, who was previously head of HSBC’s investment banking division, is streamlining the business and focusing on high-growth markets in Asia.

Several other Australian and global banks have recently cut staff in a push for greater efficiency.

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