Reports are coming in that HSBC, the third largest bank in the world and one of the most profitable, in a marked attempt to tighten its belt in the face of regulatory and economic pressures, is preparing to hand out pink slips to some 50,000 of its employees from its less profitable divisions.
With a particular focus on Britain, Brazil, the United States, Turkey, and Mexico, CEO Stuart Gulliver plans to cut $290 billion in assets on a risk adjusted basis by 2017. The cuts will be sharp and deep, with a full one-sixth of UK staff, around 7,000 – 8,000 jobs, headed for the chopping block. Redundant staff and other non-productive assets from Europe and the Americas will largely be redeployed as the firm continues to shift its focus towards Asia in general and China in particular.
It would appear that the current state of the world, what with the digitisation of finance as heralded by Bitcoin and the excessive regulatory burden and generally grim economic prospects of western socialist democracies, is even leading HSBC to consider moving its headquarters back to Honk Kong, where the Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation was originally established in 1865 by Sir Thomas Sutherland.
Given that Hong Kong is taking a considerably lighter and hands-off approach to Bitcoin regulation, whereas Britain and others are doing everything in their power to stave off the inevitable, the former British colony would seem to be a safer and saner home for the bank. For now.