HSBC Quietly Held a Round of Layoffs in London This Week

HSBC Securities Services' global head of business development Nick Bruce is set to leave after 15 years with the bank.

HSBC has reportedly begun its recently-announced job cuts in London, and some industry sources say they were a little harsher than previously expected. The British bank, which is conducting a cost-cutting drive aimed at protecting its dividend, has been laying off senior people in a bid to cut costs.

HSBC did not formally announce its restructuring plans, with no indication of how many jobs it would ax, and did not mention any planned cuts when it reported earnings last month.

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According to Efinancialcareers, low performers were dismissed from Securities Services and client services staff. A few days later, the bank quietly began letting more people go in Japan and Australia.

Starting at the top, HSBC Securities Services’ global head of business development, Nick Bruce is among the latest wave of laid-off employees after having served with the lender since 2004.

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The announcements followed large rounds of job reductions earlier in the year from investment banks like Societe Generale, Nomura, among many others.

A turbulent period for HSBC

But while layoffs are nothing new in the financial industry, this round seems different as no official confirmation was announced.

The cuts anyways follow a turbulent period for HSBC where CEO rebuked top managers earlier this year for missing revenue and cost targets. The investment bank, which gets most of its business in Asia, also suffered an exodus of high-profile executives after the meltdown hit the business in financial markets, which put further pressure on the CEO to rein in costs.

The latest cuts extend Chief Executive John Flint’s plan, dubbed ‘Project Oak,’ which he unveiled last year to hike return on equity to above 11 percent next year from 6.8 percent in 2017.

Flint said HSBC would focus on making revenues grow faster than costs through being more focused on its traditional strengths of corporate and retail banking.

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