HSBC plans to cut its office space almost in half worldwide long-term as part of a cost-cutting campaign established on Tuesday, in a further sign that the pandemic could mean permanent changes in work patterns.
The UK government said on Monday that home work should continue until further notice as it planned a gradual relaxation of the country’s lockdown, meaning that the company’s offices will remain virtually empty for months.
Several banks have said they will adopt a more hybrid job after most of their staff switched to working from home during the pandemic., but few have defined a specific goal to reduce space.
In the presentation of results, the financial firm abandoned its long-term profitability objective and unveiled a revised strategy focused mainly on wealth management in Asia, after the impact of the pandemic caused its annual profits to fall sharply.
Blaming the low interest rate environment and tough market conditions, HSBC dropped its goal of achieving a return on tangible equity of 10-12%, saying it would instead aim for 10%. in the medium term.
The measures taken by the largest European bank highlight the difficult prospects for the banking sector, as low interest rates around the world are taking their toll, although the rebound in global markets has boosted prospects for the wealth management business.
Pressure on margins and mounting losses in Europe have forced HSBC to redouble its focus on Asia, which accounted for 146% of its profits in 2020, as executives look for new growth engines.
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