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HSBC boss prepares to axe jobs, businesses in strategy refresh
[LONDON] HSBC is set to cut thousands of staff, axe businesses in Brazil and Turkey and shrink its investment bank in a fresh attempt to become simpler and improve its financial performance.
Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver is due to outline on Tuesday his second major strategic plan since taking over at the start of 2011 and needs to show the bank is not too big and unwieldy to succeed, investors and analysts say.
Mr Gulliver has sold or exited 77 countries or businesses in the last four years, reversing the bank's serial acquisition strategy of the past. He has already started the further sales of sizeable - but problem - businesses in Brazil and Turkey, industry sources have said.
He is expected to give details of how the bank will restructure operations in the United States and Mexico and could pledge to leave more smaller countries.
Some investors say Europe's biggest bank hasn't gone far enough to shrink its US$2.6 trillion balance sheet and want to see more radical cuts in global banking and markets (GB&M), the investment bank Mr Gulliver previously ran for five years, particularly in its credit and rates teams.
In all, the measures could see more than 10,000 jobs go from HSBC's global workforce of 266,000 staff.
HSBC is also expected to outline the criteria it will use to decide whether it should move its headquarters from London to Asia, most likely Hong Kong. That could include details on how it will separate its UK retail banking operation from the rest of the bank from 2019, which it needs to do under new UK law.
Tougher banking regulations imposed since the 2008-09 financial crisis have hurt HSBC, and so too has a UK tax on banks and a prolonged period of low interest rates.
Mr Gulliver has missed targets to improve the bank's return on equity to 12-15 percent and cut the bank's costs to less than 55 per cent of revenues.
After a series of scandals ranging from lax anti-money laundering standards in Mexico and manipulating foreign exchange trading, investors say he needs to demonstrate the benefits of scale and diversity outweigh the problems of complexity, for both financial and compliance reasons.