HSBC cutting around 100 staff in equities business - sources

HSBC (HSBA.L) is cutting around 100 roles in its equities business with the bulk of the layoffs falling on its continental European trading floors, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.  The cuts are across the bank’s equities research, sales, trading and back office business departments, the sources said, and will include a handful of job losses in Asia. 

HSBC said it could not provide a comment as the bank is in a closed period ahead of reporting full-year results for 2019.  The cuts come as the bank’s interim Chief Executive Noel Quinn prepares to update investors on the lender’s new strategy when it reports the results on Feb. 18.  HSBC will refocus its European equities business on its core home market of the UK, the sources said, keeping its Paris trading hub to serve continental Europe. 

Quinn is auditioning for the permanent role that some HSBC insiders and investors believe Chairman Mark Tucker will award him on Feb. 18 after he took swift action to cut costs at the lender.  Quinn took the reins in August following the shock ousting of John Flint, who took the fall for insufficient progress in addressing some of the bank’s long-term problems including underperformance in its investment bank and U.S. unit. 

HSBC’s cuts in its equities business follow similar moves by European peers in recent years, as the digitization of the business and regulations to protect investors have combined to slash banking margins.  HSBC has around 238,000 employees worldwide.