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

In a big shock to the global financial hubs like London, Singapore and Hong Kong, the Financial Times reported that HSBC Holdings Plc is planning to cut up to 10,000 jobs as part of its renewed drive to slash costs.

If the layoffs materialise, HSBC will see more than 4 percent of its employees leave the company. It's not certain how many people working in Singapore will be affected by the latest job cuts at the Asia-focused financial corporation.

HSBC has nearly 240,000 full-time employees as of the end of June 2019, as per the 2019 interim report. In August 2009, the banking giant had said it was cutting as many as 4,000 jobs across the globe. At that point, HSBC had said Singapore remained a key part of the bank's strategies for the future.

"Singapore is one of eight strategic countries that we are investing in ... We are putting focus and support to the business, and it remains key to our overall Asian and Southeast Asian ambition ... So Singapore is very much part of the future, part of the growth of the group," HSBC chairman Mark Tucker told the media, as per CNA.

The FT report says HSBC, which makes more than 80 percent of its profits from Asia, could being announcing the details of the job cull when it reports third-quarter results later this month.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported that the latest job cuts will be on top of the staff reduction announced earlier. If that comes true the total number of jobs that could disappear at HSBC could be 14,000.

The bank had said on August 5 that it was cutting 4,000 jobs as part of a restructuring plan focused on handling global financial turmoil better.

"Any job cuts implemented as part of the latest plan would come on top of the redundancies announced earlier," Reuters reported, citing the FT report.

The job cuts announced in August were a fallout of the increasingly bleak global business outlook roiled by the US-China trade war, the Hong Kong unrest and the uncertainties surrounding Brexit.

As per current reports, the HSBC staff cuts are not likely to impact the Asian hubs like Singapore. "There's some very hard modelling going on. We are asking why we have so many people in Europe when we've got double-digit returns in parts of Asia," an unnamed source was quoted by the FT as saying.

"We've known for years that we need to do something about our cost base, the largest component of which is people - now we are finally grasping the nettle," the source further said.

When Singapore's leading channel CNA contacted HSBC over the impact on Singapore jobs, the global lender declined to comment on the FT report. However, the CNA reported that an HSBC spokesman pointed to the comments made earlier by chairman Tucker wherein he was saying Singapore remained one of the eight strategic markets for HSBC, the biggest trade bank in the world.