HSBC may sell branches to cut costs

HSBC may sell branches to cut costs

Banking giant HSBC is considering selling off branches as it looks to slash costs in its UK retail arm, it was reported today.

HSBC’s recently appointed chief executive, Stuart Gulliver, is preparing to announce extensive cost-saving measures for the retail business at its upcoming May 11 strategy day, according to The Sunday Telegraph.

It is understood that branch closures are among options being looked at, as well as potential job cuts among middle management.

The announcement is expected to form part of Mr Gulliver’s vision for the group after taking on the top job from predecessor Michael Geoghegan at the start of the year.

His plans will also reportedly see HSBC focus on specific countries in a move away from being the “world’s local bank”.

HSBC was not immediately available for comment.

The strategy day follows first quarter results from the bank on May 9, which come after a disappointing start to the earnings season so far.

Barclays reported a 9% drop in quarterly profits after investment banking revenues fell 15% to £3.3 bn, while Santander’s UK operation also revealed a profits fall as it said it was hit by regulatory costs.

HSBC is also soon to hold its annual meeting – on May 27 – when it will seek investor approval for an overhauled executive pay plan.

HSBC suffered a shareholder protest at last year’s AGM when nearly one in four investor votes failed to back its pay report.

It is now proposing to reduce maximum bonuses for top bosses, but the pay plans mean Mr Gulliver would still be in line for a package worth up to £12.5m this year.

Not all of HSBC’s shareholders are said to be convinced by the changes being made, with concerns focusing on how long-term bonus shares are granted.

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