HSBC will cut 8,000 UK jobs

HSBC has confirmed that it is axing between 7,000 and 8,000 UK jobs – or one in six of its UK staff.

The group will also “trim” its number of branches in Britain as its retail arm undergoes a rebrand and its head office moves to Birmingham but is yet to decide on a new name. Options could include reviving the Midland Bank brand, which it bought in 1992, or adopting the name of its UK online bank, First Direct.

Reports have previously suggested that the bank, which employs 48,000 people in the UK, is considering moving its headquarters from Britain to Hong Kong.

Gulliver said that a decision on whether to move its headquarters from London will be made by the end of the year.

Up to 50,000 roles at the group are expected to be shed globally, boss Stuart Gulliver confirmed as he outlined cost-cutting and restructuring strategies to investors.

The cuts are part of a second attempt by Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver to boost profits since he took the helm at the start of 2011. The previous effort was foiled by high compliance costs, fines, low interest rates and sluggish growth.

“Slaughtering the staff is not necessarily the solution unless management makes the bank considerably less complex,” said James Antos, analyst at Mizuho Securities Asia.

HSBC shares in London opened 0.9 percent higher at 625 pence before slipping back to underperform both the FTSE 100 index .FTSE and European banking stocks .SX7P slightly.

HSBC said it will cut its assets on a risk adjusted basis (RWA) by $290 billion by 2017. That will include a reduction of a third, or $140 billion, in global banking and markets (GBM), its investment bank. That means GBM will account for less than a third of HSBC’s balance sheet, down from 40 percent now.