HSBC will be forced to delay a plan to slash 35,000 jobs in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic that has claimed nearly 10,000 lives.
The FT reported that four people briefed on the matter were informed that should the contagion become a long-term crisis, the disruption would likely delay the overhaul.
"You can't fire a trader in Europe over the phone when he is either working from home or taking care of a sick family member," said a Reuters report citing an unnamed HSBC source.
You can’t fire a trader in Europe over the phone when he is either working from home or taking care of a sick family member"
Quinn's decisive move to slash costs proved instrumental in securing him the top spot at Europe's largest lender but those plans, including the axing of 35,000 jobs and shuttering of underperforming businesses, may prove difficult to implement while the world grapples with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
Depending on the location and segment, a job cull could result in varying levels of internal and external backlash, more so given that authorities are rushing to provide monetary and fiscal support sometimes targeting the working class.
HSBC will review the social, economic and political impact of the virus, the first source said, adding that the bank could still decide to proceed with its existing plans.
HSBC is not the only major European lender in the midst of a drawdown as the coronavirus crisis globalizes. Deutsche Bank last year announced plans to shed 18,000 jobs and to create a "bad bank" to spin off $83bn in unwanted assets.
However, a precipitous drop in market valuations may make it inopportune for any bank to sell assets it no longer wants.