London-headquartered multinational investment bank HSBC is planning to let go of up to 10,000 of its employees as a new cost-cutting measure, British media reported on Monday. The latest round of downsizing will target mostly high-paid roles and will be mainly focused on shrinking the bank’s operations in Europe.
The banking sector continues to suffer drastic layoffs as the global economic outlook remains uncertain. The latest financial institution reported to be set for cutting a massive amount of workers is HSBC, which has already announced firing thousands of people just a few weeks ago.
HSBC to Cut High-Paying Jobs in Europe
This news comes just a few weeks after the investment bank announced the previous firing of up to 4,700 employees, about 2% of its global workforce. Those cuts were said to be focused on management roles and were in response to a bleak global outlook. They also coincided with the sudden and unexplained exit of HSBC’s former CEO.
“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”, an unnamed HSBC insider told the Financial Times. “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.”
A Global Banking Industry Contraction
The new restructuring plan at HSBC is being attributed to economic uncertainty due to Brexit as well as the trade war between the U.S. and China hurting global growth. However, it can not be delinked from the historically low interest rates around the world that make it difficult for banks to profit from their traditional loans businesses. Ever since the financial crisis of 2008, investment banks have been hit with limiting regulations and major fines with regards to their trading practices.
As we recently reported, prior to the latest news from HSBC, banks have announced nearly 60,000 job cuts so far this year. The contraction in the banking sector is spread around the world but is most strongly felt in Europe. The top financial institutions by the number of job cuts are Banco Santander, Commerzbank, HSBC, Barclays, Alfa Bank, KBC, Societe Generale, Caixabank, and the National Bank of Greece, with Deutsche Bank leading the pack with 18,000 job cuts.
Alfa-Bank, Commerzbank Pilot Cross-Border Payments on R3’s Marco Polo
Alfa-Bank and Novolipetsk Steel Company (NLMK), in cooperation with Commerzbank and Vesuvius GmbH, are piloting Russia-Germany cross-border payments on R3’s Marco Polo network.
Powered by R3’s Marco Polo Blockchain Global Trade Network
On Oct. 11, Alfa-Bank announced that it is launching a foreign trade finance pilot transaction, with the cooperation of NLMK, Commerzbank and Vesuvius GmbH using R3’s Corda-powered Marco Polo Network. In the announcement, Alfa-Bank described itself as Russia’s largest financial institution measured by total assets, total equity, deposit and loan portfolios.
The cross-border payment pilot aims to build a digital end-to-end trade finance and supply chain finance solution on a blockchain platform. Marco Polo network, which is a joint undertaking between technology firms TradeIX and R3, plans to offer a wide range of international trade finance solutions and integration into the global trade ecosystem. Head of Trade Finance at Alfa-Bank, Dina Merkulova, said:
“We launched our first distributed ledger technology in trade finance as early as 2017. Since then, corporate blockchain solutions have been considerably elaborated, and earned our clients’ confidence and proved their applicability to real business processes. Projects such as Marco Polo create added value for clients ensuring more international trade transparency and manageability thanks to integrated bank payment, finance and discount instruments.”
More banks joining Marco Polo Network
Cointelegraph reported in September that the Bank of America had joined R3’s Marco Polo Network to tackle trade finance challenges. The multinational investment bank joined the network to improve its international trade inefficiencies and deliver a better service to its customers. Geoff Brady, head of global trade at Bank of America, said at the time:
“Joining the Marco Polo Network supports our strategic objective of turning technology advances into trade solutions that address client needs. We look forward to exploring how the new technology can generate greater transparency for our clients throughout the transaction lifecycle, making traditionally paper-based, opaque processes easier and more efficient.”