MUMBAI, Oct 17 (Reuters) - London-based HSBC saidon Thursday it will exit its retail broking business in India,the latest global bank to scale back operations in the country.
About 300 jobs will be cut as a result, a spokesman said.
A source involved in the process said the bank decided toexit the business due to stiff competition in retail broking andlow earnings potential.
"HSBC will cease opening new retail broking accounts withimmediate effect," the bank said in a statement.
HSBC, Europe's biggest bank, has exited about 50 businessesglobally since Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver took over at thestart of 2011, including recent profitable sales of a $9.4billion stake in Ping An Insurance and its $2.1billion Panama business.
HSBC, one of the three biggest foreign banks in India, wasalso said by sources to be in talks to sell a stake in its lifeinsurance joint venture in India.
Global banks have scaled back non-core operations, includingin India, where the economy grew last year at its slowest in adecade. Royal Bank of Scotland recently sold its Indiancommercial and retail operations, and Morgan Stanley soldits private wealth management business in the country.
India's brokerage industry is fragmented and competitive,with low commissions and sluggish business, and several smallerbrokerages have closed up shop in recent months.
"Thousands of small brokers have exited and many are exitingeveryday," said Sudip Bandyopadhyay, CEO of Mumbai-basedbrokerage Destimoney Securities.