Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Barclays, HSBC, BoA among big European, US Banks Job Cuts, Hard Hit !






Barclays job cuts take Europe’s tally to 40,000

Swiss firms hit by impact of soaring franc

LONDON (MarketWatch) — A running tally of planned job cuts by European banks reached around 40,000 Tuesday, little more than halfway though earnings season, as firms that failed to control costs or were over-optimistic about growth make the deepest cuts.

Barclays PLC UK:BARC -0.12%   BCS -0.84%  was the latest to confirm job losses Tuesday, saying it’s already cut 1,400 jobs and indicating the figure could rise to around 3,000 by the end of the year.

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The announcement came as the bank reported a 38% drop in net profit to 1.5 billion pounds ($2.45 billion), partly due to compensation it’s paying to customers who were sold inappropriate insurance.

The Barclays cuts take the total announced by banks reporting in the last week to 35,000. On top of that, UBS AG CH:UBSN -7.70%   UBS -4.68%  also confirmed it would slash jobs, with media reports in Switzerland pegging the number of losses at around 5,000.

The total doesn’t include a further 15,000 job cuts announced by Lloyds Banking Group PLC UK:LLOY -3.02%   LYG -4.46%  at the end of June.

Strong franc hurting Swiss banks

UBS and Credit Suisse CH:CSGN -7.77%   CS -4.16% , which is cutting around 2,000 jobs, are facing an uphill battle against the soaring Swiss franc because they have such a big cost base in Switzerland, but receive a lot of their revenue in dollars and euros.



On top of that UBS CEO Oswald Gruebel made a significant effort to rebuild the firm’s fixed-income trading business in the wake of the crisis, but is now cutting back in areas where it’s not making money, said Christopher Wheeler, an analyst at Mediobanca.

“Ozzie is a trader and he’s taking a trader's view by cutting his positions,” said Wheeler.

HSBC Holdings PLC UK:HSBA +0.43%   HBC -0.20%  will cut around 30,000 positions by 2013, reflecting the fact that the bank “massively over-expanded in retail banking,” Wheeler added.

Soaring costs at HSBC have been a significant worry for investors for some time, leading the bank to announce in May that it will withdraw from markets where it can’t achieve the right scale. Read more on HSBC's cost-cutting plans. 
 
Societe Generale analyst James Invine said in a note to clients that costs are still “a mountain to climb” for HSBC and that much of the growth is due to wage inflation in its faster-growing markets.

“That is a cost about which it can do very little, particularly given Asia’s strategic importance for the group,” Invine said.

The Barclays cuts are a mix of trimming a bloated looking corporate banking arm and slimming down European retail banking, as well as trimming its Barclays Capital investment banking arm after some pretty aggressive expansion, said Wheeler.

Barclays was the bank that snapped up the U.S. operations of Lehman Brothers Holdings, including around 10,000 staff, after the U.S. firm collapsed in 2008.

“In bull markets, you can hide a lot,” he said.

“But when you get into these sort of markets you have to address it, because, it sticks out like a sore thumb.”

Simon Kennedy is the City correspondent for MarketWatch in London.

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HSBC Plc is reportedly close to announcing that it will cut thousands of jobs as it embarks on a cost-cutting drive. — Reuters

HSBC may cut 10,000 jobs

HONG KONG: HSBC Plc may cut more than 10,000 jobs as it embarks on a cost-cutting drive, Sky News reported, citing people close to Europe's biggest bank.

The bank's plans had not yet been finalised, Sky News added, citing an insider at the bank

A HSBC spokeswoman in Hong Kong declined to comment.

HSBC's move would be the latest in a wave of cuts announced by the global financial industry, which has been hit by market volatility and lacklustre profits.

Just yesterday, Swiss bank Credit Suisse announced it would cut about 2,000 jobs after a second quarter hit by weak trading activity and the strong Swiss franc.

 
Switzerland's second biggest bank saw net profit fell 52% to 768 million Swiss francs (US$958.9mil), it said on Thursday.

Standard Chartered, Lloyds, Goldman Sachs and UBS are among banks that have announced job cuts in recent months, hit by rising costs and weak revenue growth.

State Street Corp, one of the world's biggest institutional investors, said earlier this month it would eliminate as many 850 jobs from its technology unit as it tried to curb costs.

HSBC has about 330,000 employees worldwide.

The Sky report came after it said in May it was looking for sustainable cost savings of US$2.5bil to US$3.5bil in order to reach a cost efficiency ratio target of 48%-52% by 2013.

It also said it would be conducting a strategic review of its cards business in the United States, and would limit its retail banking operations to markets where it could achieve profitable scale.

It already cut 700 jobs in its UK retail banking arm in June this year out of its staff of 55,000 in the country, one of many banks that have said they will cull jobs to save costs as lenders fight off a limp economic recovery.

HSBC shares in Hong Kong were down 1.1% by noon yesterday, in line with the broader market's 1% decline. - Reuters

Big Banks Hit Hard In Market Sell-Off

DAVOS/SWITZERLAND - Brian T. Moynihan, Preside...Image via Wikipedia
Big U.S. and European banks were hit hard in Thursday’s stock sell-off, highlighting investor concerns about some of the more prominent financial institutions.

In the U.S., Bank of America’s stock fell by 7.44% and has now tumbled by 33% this year. Bank of America’s chief executive, Brian Moynihan, will now really have his work cut out for him next week when he plans to take questions on a public call hosted by Bruce Berkowitz, the rock star hedge fund manager who has taken a big and controversial position in the nation’s biggest bank.

The KBW Bank Index fell by 5.3%, but some of the biggest banks in the U.S. fell more, like Citigroup, which fell by 6.6%. Big banks like Citigroup are struggling to deal with surging litigation costs stemming from the credit crisis while also dealing with more stringent capital standards.

The situation in Europe is worse, where investors are starting to wonder more and more about the Italian government securities being held by the large European banks, not to mention IOUs from the other countries like Spain. Italy is really getting more mired in the euro crisis and UniCredit shares tumbled by more than 9% on Thursday. Lloyds Banking Group has now seen its shares lose nearly half their value in 2011.

The decline in bank stocks could add momentum to the job cuts already being implemented on Wall Street and the banking sector. HSBC recently said it would slice 30,000 jobs. It will also potentially weigh on the economic recovery. But at least some banks are making the best of an ominous situation. Bank of New York Mellon said on Thursday it will start to charge clients fleeing to safety a fee for extraordinarily high deposits.