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HSBC to slash jobs at London equities trading division

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LaToya Harding
·Contributor
·3-min read
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A Swiss International aircraft flies past the HSBC headquarters building in the Canary Wharf financial district in east London February 15, 2015. HSBC apologised to customers and investors on Sunday for past practices at its Swiss private bank after allegations that it helped hundreds of clients to dodge taxes. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls (BRITAIN - Tags: BUSINESS CRIME LAW TRANSPORT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Some senior staff at Canary Wharf will have the opportunity to shift overseas to Hong Kong as the bank looks to increase its presence in Asia. Photo: Reuters/Peter Nicholls

HSBC (HSBA.L) is planning to cut jobs in its equities trading unit in London in the latest shake-up of its UK office as it scales back in stock trading.

The company has informed staff of the plans in the past two days, Financial News reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

It forms part of the lender’s ongoing restructuring first announced in February last year, although it has not yet been confirmed how many staff will be affected.

Some senior staff at Canary Wharf will have the opportunity to shift overseas to Hong Kong as the bank looks to increase its presence in Asia. The bank is looking to inject roughly £4.3bn ($5.99bn) into the region over the next five years, focusing mainly on its wealth management business in greater China as well as Asia more broadly.

Others have also been offered the chance to transfer to Paris also, instead of accepting redundancy.

The executives likely to move to new locations include Greg Guyett, co-head of global banking and markets, Nuno Matos, chief executive of wealth and personal banking, and Barry O’Byrne, chief executive of global commercial banking.

Oliver Kadhim, who is currently head of sales trading for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, is set to move to Hong Kong to become co-head of Asia equity execution alongside James Grafton, Financial News said.

Joelle Tarrant will move to Paris to become head of equity execution for continental Europe. Her current position in London is currently head of European Union electronic execution. She also has responsibility for market structure in the equities unit globally.

Alex Ells will take over high touch sales and trading within equities for both North America and EMEA.

READ MORE: HSBC plans to slash office space post-COVID

HSBC's pivot to Asia could prove challenging. Europe's largest bank has faced increased political pressure over the last year due to its dual role in both the UK and Hong Kong.

Growing tension between China and the West has made HSBC's position increasingly uncomfortable.

Politicians in the US and UK have criticised HSBC for suspending the bank accounts of pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong.

At the same time, Chinese state media has criticised HSBC's role in the detention of top Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Canada.

READ MORE: Mike Pompeo: HSBC giving into China's 'bullying' in Hong Kong

The news also comes after HSBC reinstated its dividend earlier this week, and accelerated changes to its business, after annual profits slumped by a third.

The bank reported pre-tax profits of $8.8bn (£6.25bn) on income of $50.4bn in 2020. Analysts had been expecting profits of $8.3bn on income of $50bn.

Profits were down 34% on 2019. HSBC was hit by a big jump in credit loss provisions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The bank set aside another $1.2bn In the fourth quarter of 2020 to cover an expected jump in bad loans. It took total loss provisions for the year to $8.8bn.

"I am proud of everything our people achieved and grateful for the loyalty of our customers during a very turbulent year," chief executive Noel Quinn said in a statement.

HSBC announced a final dividend of 15p, well above City forecasts of 10.1p. The resumption of payouts follows the Bank of England's decision to lift its dividend ban in December.

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