HSBC announces pay, hiring freeze
A Swiss International aircraft flies past the HSBC headquarters building in the Canary Wharf financial district in east London February 15, 2015 Reuters

Europe's biggest bank HSBC is freezing salaries and hiring this year globally as part of its ongoing cost reduction drive.

The bank had said in June it was axing 25,000 jobs globally including 8,000 of its 48,000 workforce in the UK.

HSBC, which aims to stay trim and cut costs to the tune of $5b billion by 2017, gave details of the plan in an email to employees on Friday.

"As flagged in our investor update we have targeted significant cost reductions by the end of 2017," the message said, according to Reuters.

In October, contractors at its investment banking division in London had their pay cut by 10 percent the agency reported.

The bank had also said the size of its investment banking operations will be trimmed by a third in the face of poor growth across the world.

Last week the HSBC board had discussed a plan to move the bank's headquarters to Hong Kong, partly to be closer to the relatively faster-growing Asian markets.

Around two thirds of HSBC's profits come from the Asian markets.