EXCLUSIVE-HSBC pauses major jobs cut plan due to virus - memo

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Steve Slater

HSBC said it is pausing the majority of job losses tied to its major restructuring due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Because of the extraordinary impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have decided to pause, for the time being, the vast majority of redundancies associated with this programme where notices have not already been issued," HSBC CEO Noel Quinn told staff in a memo on Thursday.

"We will also pause external recruitment, other than for a small number of front-line and business critical roles and those already with written offers."

Quinn announced a major strategic overhaul last month that included plans to cut about 35,000 jobs and slash the size of its investment bank in Europe and the US. The aim is to reduce costs and shift assets to faster-growing businesses in Asia and the Middle East.

In the memo, Quinn told staff the measures announced in February "remain crucial" to making HSBC "a simpler, more efficient, more customer-focused and leaner bank".

"Many elements of our transformation plan are moving forward as planned – the work to combine the back office of our wholesale businesses is continuing, and the creation of our wealth and personal banking business is progressing," he said.

"In addition, we are developing detailed plans across multiple work-streams. This will include establishing the RWA optimisation unit, so that when the situation changes we will be ready to move."