In a strategy update to investors, Britain’s largest bank said its global headcount could fall to as low as 240,000 by 2016, having been close to 300,000 just three years ago.
Stuart Gulliver, chief executive of HSBC, said the bank had already achieved annual cost savings of $4bn since he took over running the bank in 2011.
“We will continue to exert tight cost discipline whilst streamlining processes and procedures. This enables us to invest in growth and global standards,” said Mr Gulliver.
HSBC has cut 34,000 full-time jobs since 2010 and at the end of last year the bank employed 261,000 staff around the world. This is expected to fall to 254,000 as part of the existing cuts and the bank said it was now targeting a global headcount of between 240,000 and 250,000 by 2016.
In line with the cuts, HSBC has sold off 52 businesses, helping it reduce its risk weighted assets by about $95bn. These sales have also resulted in gains of $8bn for the bank.
The bank has also suggested it could begin buying back shares to enhance returns as it targets a return on equity of 12pc to 15pc. Any buybacks would require the approval of its regulators, as well as shareholders.
“We think the group clearly has too much capital generation for its growth opportunities,” said Deutsche Bank.
HSBC is already the second largest dividend payer in the FTSE 100 (FTSE: ^FTSE - news) , last year setting aside $8.3bn for payments to shareholders, up $1bn on the previous year and $2bn on its payout in 2010.
At the same time, the bank’s total shareholder equity has grown by $27bn to $175bn, making it one of the best capitalised lenders in the world.
The bank has already said it does not expect to have to raise any new capital as a result of British regulator’s moves to force UK lenders to hold more capital.
“As we execute our strategy we will keep under review the capital we hold and, if it appears to the board to be in the interests of the company and shareholders, we may seek to neutralise the effects of the scrip dividend,” said Mr Gulliver.
Shares in HSBC fell slightly this morning and were trading at 745.2p at 10:40BST, valuing the bank as £139bn.