Bull Bear Report Jun 30 2011

Mass Layoffs at HSBC's UK Retail Bank

By michael haddon

HSBC Holdings PLC confirmed Thursday that it is to cut around 700 jobs from its retail banking operations in the U.K., ahead of major regulatory reforms that are set to affect the domestic industry's advisory business.

HSBC said around 460 positions in the financial advice team of its retail banking and wealth management division would be affected, as the banking giant moves to reshape part of its U.K. business.

Around 140 roles will also be axed in its service delivery area, with around 100 further jobs set to go in its IT operations and head office, the bank said.

HSBC's move comes ahead of impending new regulations, called the Retail Distribution Review, which are expected to bring about a dramatic fall in the number of customers seeking financial advice from early 2013.

"The banking sector in the U.K. is going through fundamental change, and I firmly believe that these steps are necessary if we are to continue to keep HSBC on a firm and sustainable footing," HSBC U.K. head Joe Garner said.

However, the bank added that HSBC will have around 1,500 qualified advisers in the U.K. after the job cuts, making it one of the largest advice networks in the country. HSBC employs around 55,000 people in the U.K., with the expected job losses accounting for just over 1% of the total workforce.

HSBC also said it was creating more than 50 senior financial planning adviser roles and adding 50 mortgage adviser roles, reflecting its rapid growth in mortgage lending.

Domestic rival Lloyds Banking Group PLC said earlier Thursday that it will cut 15,000 jobs, simplify its business and focus on four key U.K. units as it seeks to cut annual costs by GBP1.5 billion within three years.

Michael Haddon is a reporter for Dow Jones Newswires, where this story originally appeared. Write to him here.




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