0005.HK - HSBC Holdings plc

HKSE - HKSE Delayed Price. Currency in HKD
+0.300 (+0.50%)
At close: 4:08PM HKT
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Previous Close59.700
Bid60.000 x 0
Ask60.050 x 0
Day's Range59.900 - 60.400
52 Week Range55.300 - 70.500
Avg. Volume20,569,549
Market Cap1.205T
Beta (3Y Monthly)0.68
PE Ratio (TTM)12.16
EPS (TTM)4.935
Earnings DateN/A
Forward Dividend & Yield3.13 (5.24%)
Ex-Dividend Date2019-08-15
1y Target Est10.07
  • U.S. Is Pursuing More Charges at JPMorgan Over Metals Trades

    U.S. Is Pursuing More Charges at JPMorgan Over Metals Trades

    (Bloomberg) -- Federal prosecutors are closing in on JPMorgan Chase & Co. officials in an investigation of price rigging in precious metals markets.With help from at least two of the bank’s former traders who pleaded guilty, the government is looking to bring charges against people higher up the chain at the bank, two people familiar with the years-old inquiry said. Just last month, a managing director who oversaw global precious-metals trading was placed on leave along with another employee, other people said.The traders who admitted guilt said the manipulation was routine, sanctioned by higher-ups and went on for years. “While at JPMorgan I was instructed by supervisors and more senior traders to trade in a certain fashion, namely to place orders that I intended to cancel before execution,” former trader John Edmonds said at a October 2018 hearing after pleading guilty to commodities fraud and conspiracy.The JPMorgan investigation grew out of a multibank U.S. crackdown on manipulation of commodities markets using techniques including spoofing, in which traders place orders without intending to execute them to try to move prices in their favor. The Justice Department has brought criminal charges against 16 people, including traders who worked for Deutsche Bank AG and UBS Group AG. Seven pleaded guilty, one was convicted at trial and another was acquitted.Deutsche Bank, HSBC Holdings Plc and UBS last year agreed to pay a total of about $50 million to settle civil claims by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission that the firms’ traders engaged in spoofing techniques to manipulate prices of precious-metals futures. Deutsche Bank agreed to pay $30 million, UBS $15 million and HSBC $1.6 million. The banks didn’t admit or deny wrongdoing.Peter Carr, a Justice Department spokesman, declined to comment. The bank disclosed the Justice Department inquiry in company filings earlier this year, saying it was cooperating with the Justice Department and other authorities.Michael Nowak, the managing director who was previously named in a civil suit, was placed on leave in August along with Gregg Smith, according to the people familiar with the matter. Nowak didn’t respond to a request for comment, and Smith couldn’t be reached. The moves were reported earlier by Reuters.JPMorgan officials believe the probe is limited to the bank’s trading desk, one of the people familiar with the matter said. Investigators are examining a paper trail related to the spoofing activities, another person said, in addition to drawing on testimony from former insiders.One of those insiders, Christiaan Trunz, a former trader for Bear Stearns and JPMorgan, told a federal judge in Manhattan last month that spoofing trades of precious metals was rampant at the bank for nearly a decade and that he was taught how to do it from other traders at JPMorgan. Trunz, who pleaded guilty on Aug. 20 to two federal fraud charges, said he manipulated futures markets for gold, silver, platinum and palladium from offices in New York, London and Singapore from 2007 to 2016.“It is understood that spoofing was a strategy that we used to trade precious metals futures,” Trunz said.Trunz was echoing descriptions offered by Edmonds, another trader, who several months earlier pleaded guilty for transactions involving silver futures. He said the conspiracy ran from 2009 to 2015 and involved hundreds of trades that he made personally. Edmonds said he was taught how to rig the market by veterans and supervisors.“I was instructed that if a client wished to sell futures I should simultaneously place both bids and offers with the intent of canceling the bids prior to execution,” Edmonds said during his plea hearing.Edmonds said the purpose was to falsely transmit liquidity and price information in order to deceive other market participants about the supply and demand so they would trade against the orders that JPMorgan wanted to execute.“We created market activity which artificially drove the sale price up and induced other market participants to purchase at an inflated price,” he said. Edmonds entered into a cooperation agreement with the CFTC in July.After Edmonds pleaded guilty, JPMorgan was hit with a proposed class action lawsuit by investors that also names Nowak and another onetime managing director, Robert Gottlieb. Gottlieb didn’t respond to a request for comment.That civil case was put on hold in February after the Justice Department intervened, claiming that the litigation could harm its criminal investigation.\--With assistance from Michelle F. Davis, Mark Burton and Ben Bain.To contact the reporters on this story: Tom Schoenberg in Washington at tschoenberg@bloomberg.net;Joe Deaux in New York at jdeaux@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jeffrey D Grocott at jgrocott2@bloomberg.net, David S. Joachim, Peter BlumbergFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Moody's

    HSBC Bank Middle East Limited (UAE Branch) -- Moody's announces completion of a periodic review of ratings of HSBC Bank Middle East Limited

    Moody's Investors Service ("Moody's") has completed a periodic review of the ratings of HSBC Bank Middle East Limited and other ratings that are associated with the same analytical unit. The review was conducted through a portfolio review in which Moody's reassessed the appropriateness of the ratings in the context of the relevant principal methodology(ies), recent developments, and a comparison of the financial and operating profile to similarly rated peers. This publication does not announce a credit rating action and is not an indication of whether or not a credit rating action is likely in the near future.

  • Saudi Aramco pursues IPO with local listing plan as lines up banks: sources

    Saudi Aramco pursues IPO with local listing plan as lines up banks: sources

    DUBAI/LONDON (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia plans a gradual listing of Aramco on its domestic market, sources familiar with the matter said on Monday, as it finalises the roles banks will play in the initial public offering (IPO) of the world's biggest oil company. The kingdom intends to list 1% of the state oil giant on the Riyadh stock exchange before the end of this year and another 1% in 2020, the sources said, as initial steps ahead of a public sale of around 5% of Aramco. Based on the indicated $2 trillion valuation that Saudi Aramco had hoped to achieve, a 1% float would be worth $20 billion, a huge milestone for the local stock market.

  • Moody's

    HSBC Mexico, S.A. -- Moody's rates A3 and Aaa.mx HSBC México's certificados bursátiles; negative outlook

    In the first and second paragraph of the press release, the ticker for the fourth issuance of Certificados Bursátiles Bancarios was corrected to HSBC 19-2D. In the List of Affected Ratings, the ticker for the fourth issuance of Certificados Bursátiles Bancarios was corrected to HSBC 19-2D. Mexico, August 29, 2019 -- Moody's de México ("Moody's") assigned A3 and Aaa.mx long-term global and Mexican National Scale senior unsecured debt ratings to HSBC México, S.A., Institución de Banca Múltiple, Grupo Financiero HSBC's (HSBC México) proposed third (HSBC 19-2) and fourth (HSBC 19-2D) issuances of Certificados Bursátiles Bancarios.

  • Benzinga

    HSBC Leverages Voltron Trade Finance Platform To Further Joint BNP Paribas, Standard Chartered Blockchain Efforts

    HSBC completed its first yuan-denominated blockchain letter of credit transaction, according to a Sept. 2 Reuters report, taking a step forward in its use of the Voltron platform, developed jointly with other large financial institutions. “The exchange of the electronic documents was completed in 24 hours, compared to the typical five to 10 days for conventional document exchange,” an HSBC representative told Reuters. “We are hoping that we will have something by end of the year, maybe the first quarter of next year," said Ajay Sharma, HSBC regional head of global trade and receivables finance in the Asia-Pacific.

  • Reuters

    HSBC processes first blockchain letter of credit using Chinese yuan

    HSBC completed the first yuan-denominated blockchain-based letter of credit transaction, the bank said on Tuesday. HSBC, like many of its competitors, has been looking to use digital ledger technology, or blockchain, to streamline the traditionally paper-based and bureaucratic business of financing trade. As the first such transaction to use the Chinese currency, this deal marks a step forward in the use of the Voltron trade finance platform, developed by eight banks including BNP Paribas, and Standard Chartered as well as HSBC.

  • Cantonese opera features on new HK$100 banknotes launched by HSBC, Standard Chartered and Bank of China (Hong Kong) on Tuesday
    South China Morning Post

    Cantonese opera features on new HK$100 banknotes launched by HSBC, Standard Chartered and Bank of China (Hong Kong) on Tuesday

    The time-honoured traditions of Cantonese opera form the backdrop of a brand new set of HK$100 notes to be launched in Hong Kong on Tuesday.The city's note-issuing banks, HSBC, Standard Chartered and Bank of China (Hong Kong), have come up with their own designs to capture the spirit of the hugely popular ancient art form on the new-look banknotes.The notes, available at bank branches from Tuesday, bear characters and scenes evoking the celebrated musical stage shows, including a princess in a Chinese wedding gown and young lovers in a garden.Bank of China (Hong Kong)'s design features a single beautiful young lady in traditional opera costume. Photo: K. Y. Cheng alt=Bank of China (Hong Kong)'s design features a single beautiful young lady in traditional opera costume. Photo: K. Y. Cheng"Among the current series of banknote designs, I particularly like the HK$100 banknote because it features the Cantonese opera, which is a very traditional Hong Kong culture and popular performing art," said Norman Chan Tak-lam, chief executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.In Hong Kong, it is the de facto central bank that decides security features of paper currency, but the three note-issuing banks came up with the designs.Chan hosted a launch ceremony for the new HK$100 banknotes, attended by the chief executives of the three lenders, at the Xiqu Centre in West Kowloon Centre. It featured a 20-minute live performance of Cantonese opera by local young artists.Romance featured heavily in the designs of the new banknotes.HSBC's note shows a couple of young lovers meeting in a Chinese garden, while Standard Chartered opted for a princess in a Chinese wedding gown with her new husband. BOCHK kept it simple, with a single beautiful young lady in traditional opera costume."Love stories are an important theme of many Cantonese operas, which is why we chose the young lovers as our theme," said Diana Cesar, chief executive of the Hong Kong office of HSBC, at the ceremony. Dispelling 5 common misconceptions about Cantonese opera"Cantonese opera continues to thrive in Hong Kong, attracting young people to learn and appreciate the art. This theme, beautifully captured in watercolour before being converted into engravings, expresses HSBC's connection with the Hong Kong community and our shared heritage."Standard Chartered's princess and husband are based on two young Hong Kong artists, according to Mary Huen Wai-yi, the bank's local chief executive."We want to show the spirit of the young artists. The show must go on, and we need young artists to continue the show," said Huen.BOCHK chose to focus on a single young lady as it wanted to show her beauty, said Yu Xin, senior art director of China Banknote Printing & Minting Corporation, who designed many of the bank's themed notes.The designer said the current banknotes have more security features than the ones in 2010.To celebrate its new HK$100 note, HSBC is launching an augmented reality filter in which the user's "selfie" photo taken on a smartphone is turned into a Cantonese Opera character.Cantonese opera was listed as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity by Unesco in 2009."This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Unesco inscription of Cantonese opera, making the launch of this banknote all the more meaningful," said Gao Yingxin, vice-chairman and chief executive of BOCHK.Forthcoming themes in the banknote series include butterflies which will adorn the HK$50 note and yam-cha " the tea and dim sum culture " that will appear on the HK$20. Both are due to be launched in early 2020.This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2019 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved. Copyright (c) 2019. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

  • Bloomberg

    UBS and HSBC Robots Push Into Bond Sales Frontier

    (Bloomberg) -- Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here.UBS Group AG and HSBC Holdings Plc are bringing robots into bond sales, a corner of banking still considered by many to be off limits to the onward march of automation.UBS has created a machine-learning algorithm that shows its salespeople the most likely counterparty to buy or sell a bond. HSBC is developing a bot that will send asset managers suggestions for bond transactions tailored to their existing trading patterns.While some bankers view bots in sales as an ominous development for one of the last bastions of old-style finance that runs off relationships, phone calls and working lunches, their bosses say the opposite is the case. Both banks say they want to make the process more efficient, relieving staff of more mundane tasks that get in the way of making money.Elsewhere in the industry, machines are already being widely adopted, adding to job insecurity for some at a time when banks are cutting staff to counter a weakening economy.“If salespeople are working much faster and more efficiently, you may need fewer of them,” said Tim Skeet, a career banker with almost 40 years experience in debt capital markets. “There is a fine balance between human and machine with sales because persuasion, judgment, knowledge and human contact are important, especially in less liquid markets.”UBS’s new system makes finding a match for a bond trade easier and quicker and has reduced the average number of calls a salesperson needs to make from five to three, according to Chris Purves, head of the bank’s Strategic Development Lab.The Swiss bank started rolling out the tool, known as Client Scout, in May after testing it earlier in the year. It sends an alert to the bank’s salespeople informing them UBS has a certain position and suggesting the most-likely candidates for the trade, ranked by percentage probability of a match, according to Purves.“This tool is as good as the best salesperson at knowing who to contact to get a trade done,” he said. “It brings everyone up to that level.”HSBC’s assistant, which doesn’t yet have a name, will build on an existing bot that HSBC’s salespeople started using in January to ensure they are up-to-date on the bank’s biggest events and best-read research. The tool monitors data on what research clients read and what events they attend. It has a 92% success rate when answering questions from sales, according to Ash Booth, head of artificial intelligence in HSBC’s corporate and institutional digital team.The new system can also compile research and trading ideas for clients, giving staff more time to work on transactions.“This has nothing to do with replacing salespeople but rather helping them and increasing their efficiency,” the bank said.MatchmakingHSBC plans to test the first version of its client system with a group of asset managers toward the end of this year, according to Sotiris Manderis, managing director in the bank’s corporate and institutional digital team.Whereas HSBC is targeting all asset classes, UBS has focused on credit because the market is particularly slow to trade. Individual bond positions sometimes take days or weeks to shift and Purves likens the market to a “dating agency” where sales try to match up buyers and sellers.Electronic systems are making leaps in corporate bond markets. UBS trades more than 13,000 bonds electronically today, an increase of more than 20% from a year earlier, according to Purves.Still, most of the market trades by voice and even after a salesperson uses Client Scout, the trade is executed manually between two people rather than automatically, he said.“Machines never get bored or tired, they just keep going,” said Purves. “But the last mile is human and it’s going to be a while before that changes.”To contact the reporter on this story: Katie Linsell in London at klinsell@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Vivianne Rodrigues at vrodrigues3@bloomberg.net, Chris VellacottFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Forget HSBC: 1 Singapore Bank That Has Growing Dividends
    Motley Fool

    Forget HSBC: 1 Singapore Bank That Has Growing Dividends

    HSBC has a high dividend yield of 7% but there's a better Asian bank out there that pays growing dividends.

  • South China Morning Post

    HSBC refunds up to HK$20,000 in interest payments to small Hong Kong businesses to help them cope with trade war, protests

    HSBC will refund up to HK$20,000 (US$2,548.96) in interest payments to its small-and-medium enterprise customers to help them cope with the challenges arising from the China-US trade war and the increasingly violent protests that have rocked Hong Kong.The biggest of three note-issuing banks in the city is the first lender to take action to help the SMEs, which are facing the worst economic crisis in a decade. Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po has warned the city might go into recession in the third quarter and face job losses.The lender, the biggest in Hong Kong and Europe, is offering an interest rebate to SMEs under two types of loan on repayments made between March and August, up to HK$20,000 each.Hang Seng Bank, a subsidiary of HSBC, will also offer the same six-month interest rebates of up to HK$20,000 to its SMEs customers under the same loan programmes.The two schemes are the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme and the SME Loan Guarantee Scheme, which are both guaranteed by the government.SMEs who take out these loans must pay a fee for the government to guarantee the loan. Last year HSBC began to offer a subsidy of up to HK$50,000 for them to pay the fee.The bank will extend the subsidy by two more years until June 30, 2022, instead of ending it in the middle of next year, as previously planned.HSBC will also cut the fee paid by merchants for its PayMe business by half to 0.75 per cent from 1.5 per cent from September 2 until the end of the year.PayMe is HSBC's payment system which allows individuals to transfer funds, while shops and restaurants can also use it to accept payments from shoppers for a fee. At 0.75 per cent, it will be lower than normal credit card fees of 1 to 2 per cent of the transaction value. Thailand's richest man calls for peace and order in Hong Kong"SMEs are the heartbeat of our economy: they account for over 98 per cent of local enterprises and around 45 per cent of total employment. We have spent time listening to our customers and have heard their voices at this difficult time," said Terence Chiu, head of commercial banking for Hong Kong at HSBC."That is why we are launching three measures to support them. We will always stand with our customers in Hong Kong and are committed to helping them thrive in all economic conditions."This marks the biggest offer by HSBC to help its customers to cope with tough times in a decade. The last time HSBC offered interest rebates to corporate clients was in 2009 when the city was hit hard by the global financial crisis. In 2003, the bank offered HK$100 million to help individuals and companies when the city was hit by the Sars outbreak. Hong Kong protests 2019 vs Occupy Central: after 79 days, retailers, investors, developers hit far worse by this year's demonstrationsThe Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the de facto central bank, welcomed HSBC and Hang Seng's move."We have reminded banks from time to time to support SMEs' funding needs to the extent permitted by their credit policies and risk management standards," an HKMA spokesman said in a statement to the Post.Many SMEs in trading and export businesses have been hit hard by the year-long trade war between the US and China, while shops, restaurants and other businesses have suffered during the street protests in the last 12 weeks.The protests against a now-suspended extradition bill, which started peacefully on June 9, have become increasingly violent, denting tourist numbers by over 30 per cent in August. Many small local businesses like restaurants and shops have seen their incomes dry up and have come under pressure to lay off staff or even close down.This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2019 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved. Copyright (c) 2019. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

  • HSBC to cut fees, offer rebates to boost struggling small Hong Kong firms

    HSBC to cut fees, offer rebates to boost struggling small Hong Kong firms

    HSBC said on Wednesday it will offer rebates and fee reductions for small and medium-sized companies in Hong Kong, as the city's economy struggles. Hong Kong is on the verge of its first recession in a decade, weighed down by the prolonged U.S.-China trade war and months of anti-government protests that have spread across the territory, disrupting traffic, scaring away tourists and paralysing shopping areas. HSBC, the biggest bank operating in Hong Kong, said it would offer a six-month interest rate rebate on loans approved under official financing and loan guarantee schemes for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), fee subsidies for applications for the financing guarantee scheme, and reductions in transaction fees for businesses using HSBC's mobile payment service.

  • Are Virtual Banks a Threat to Hong Kong’s Big Banks and Their Shareholders?
    Motley Fool

    Are Virtual Banks a Threat to Hong Kong’s Big Banks and Their Shareholders?

    Virtual banks are looking to disrupt Hong Kong's banking sector. But how much of a threat are they to the traditional banks and their businesses?

  • Are HSBC Holdings Shares Cheap Right Now?
    Motley Fool

    Are HSBC Holdings Shares Cheap Right Now?

    HSBC's shares have fallen over 10% since late July. But does this Asian banking giant still have long-term potential?

  • HSBC Weighs Bid for Aviva’s Asian Assets in Diversity Push

    HSBC Weighs Bid for Aviva’s Asian Assets in Diversity Push

    (Bloomberg) -- HSBC Holdings Plc, the bank that shook up its senior leadership this month, is considering a bid for Asian operations being sold by Aviva Plc as it seeks ways to diversify its business in the region, people with knowledge of the matter said.London-based HSBC is in the early stages of weighing an offer for at least part of Aviva’s Asian business, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. A deal would help HSBC bolster its insurance presence in Singapore and other parts of Southeast Asia, the people said.Aviva, the U.K. insurance conglomerate whose shares have dropped 27% in the last 12 months, confirmed in August it’s examining options for its Asian business as new Chief Executive Officer Maurice Tulloch’s turnaround takes shape. The company’s operations in the region could be valued at about $3 billion to $4 billion, with an official process slated to kick off later this year, Bloomberg News reported earlier.Other suitors are also considering bids for the Aviva assets, the people said. No final decisions have been made, and there’s no certainty the deliberations will result in a transaction, the people said. Representatives for HSBC and Aviva declined to comment.Shares of HSBC fell 0.6% as of 2:01 p.m. in Hong Kong on Thursday, while they rose 0.2% to 598.30 pence in London on Wednesday. Aviva’s American depositary receipts rose 2.1% in New York over-the-counter trading. The company’s London-listed shares rose 0.1% to close at 358.50 pence.Earlier in August, HSBC abruptly ousted Chief Executive Officer John Flint after just 18 months. Chairman Mark Tucker was increasingly at odds with Flint over the CEO’s focus on expansion in China, people with knowledge of the matter said at the time. The head of HSBC’s China business resigned the same week, and the bank unveiled a new round of job cuts that could eliminate 4,000 roles.Hong Kong, where HSBC generates more than half of its pretax profit, has for weeks been roiled in protests that have left the business and financial elite increasingly concerned about the city’s growth prospects. The bank’s presence in the rival Asian hub of Singapore is smaller than some international competitors such as Standard Chartered Plc.Aviva has been capitalizing on the surging ranks of middle class consumers in Asia, many of whom are newcomers to life insurance policies. Singapore is the company’s largest market in Asia, with its life insurance unit there generating 1.3 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) in new business and 141 million pounds in adjusted operating profit last year, according to its latest annual report.What Bloomberg Intelligence Says“Aviva’s Singapore business will be front and center as it mulls its Asian segments, including the option to sell them. The insurer may be inclined to sell its Asia units as a package, as smaller units may have less M&A appeal without the dominant Singapore segment. For suitors, there should be strong consolidation interest in Singapore. Regional peers such as Singapore-based FWD and Japanese insurers might also consider Aviva’s units in China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam.”\-- Steven Lam, insurance analyst\--Click here for the research(Updates to add Bloomberg Intelliegence report.)\--With assistance from Will Hadfield, Dominic Lau, Manuel Baigorri and Stefania Spezzati.To contact the reporters on this story: Dinesh Nair in London at dnair5@bloomberg.net;Ambereen Choudhury in London at achoudhury@bloomberg.net;Jan-Henrik Förster in Zurich at jforster20@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Aaron Kirchfeld at akirchfeld@bloomberg.net, ;Sree Vidya Bhaktavatsalam at sbhaktavatsa@bloomberg.net, Ben Scent, Amy ThomsonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • HSBC reshuffles decks as the bank braces for a more challenging operating environment
    South China Morning Post

    HSBC reshuffles decks as the bank braces for a more challenging operating environment

    John Flint, then-HSBC chief executive, declared in June of last year that it was time for the bank "to get back into growth mode".Under his predecessor Stuart Gulliver, the lender, once known in its advertising as the "world's local bank", had cut thousands of jobs, shrunk its global footprint from 87 countries to 67 and spent tens of millions of dollars to revamp its compliance following a scandal over its money-laundering controls that saw it pay US$1.9 billion in a settlement with US authorities.The outlook was generally positive at the time: central banks, including the Federal Reserve, had begun tightening after a decade of historically low interest rates. And Flint was betting HSBC could further expand its business in fast-growing Asian markets which account for about half of its revenue. HSBC's CEO makes surprise departure as bank seeks new growthFlint's unexpected exit shows the lower tolerance that HSBC's directors have for underperformance, particularly as the lender faces more challenging market conditions, according to analysts. The bank missed a key target for expense growth last year and a more positive first half opened the door for a smooth exit.Mark Tucker, the HSBC chairman, said last week the decision to replace Flint was about the bank's future and cited the "pace, ambition and decisiveness" of interim CEO Noel Quinn as "absolutely essential to capitalise on the opportunities ahead".The abrupt departure of Flint was a "surprise" to many in the company, executives say, but comes as the bank faces a much more difficult operating environment than it did when Flint, a career HSBC executive, took over as CEO in February 2018.The year-long US-China trade war cut into business sentiment globally as some companies were delaying future investments, sending some investors to the sidelines as recession fears grow. Sogo operator worried over outlook as protests, trade war hit salesHong Kong " HSBC's biggest market " has been hit by two months of protests, which is starting to hurt the economy, even though the bank said the effect on its business has been "limited" so far.Plus, central banks are becoming dovish as the outlook for the global economy has weakened, which could put pressure on the bottom lines of HSBC and other banks, analysts said."Global uncertainty has changed sentiment and further [interest rate] rises are unlikely, and we may see some of the improved net interest margin reverse in 2019," Paul McSheaffrey, head of banking and capital markets at KPMG China, said in a recent report.Another nail in the coffin for Flint may have been HSBC's share price."Whilst the abrupt CEO's exit without the appointment of a successor shows weaknesses in corporate governance, it also signals the board's intention to more aggressively target underperforming businesses and cost structure, which " if appropriately executed " would improve efficiency and profitability of the group," Alessandro Roccati, a Moody's Investor Services senior vice-president, said.S&P; Global Ratings said the ousting of Flint shows an "increased ruthlessness" on the part of HSBC's directors when it comes to middling performance.HSBC executives said that the abrupt departure of John Flint was a "surprise" to many in the company. Photo: Reuters alt=HSBC executives said that the abrupt departure of John Flint was a "surprise" to many in the company. Photo: ReutersHSBC expects to take six to 12 months to find a replacement and look at candidates both inside and outside the bank."I think we're looking again for somebody with ability to deal with scale, ability to deal with multiple geographies, ability to understand Asia, ability to understand banking, again, both tactically and strategically focused, someone who will continue to move with pace and think about the simplification, and somebody who has a great ambition for the group," said Tucker. HSBC's Greater China head Helen Wong quitsThe bank has been quietly reassuring officials in Beijing that it had an obligation under financial regulations in the US and a court-ordered monitorship at the time to comply with requests for information by authorities about its dealings with Huawei, according to people familiar with the effort.HSBC has declined to comment, saying it is not a party to the criminal case against Meng.HSBC has had to reassure Beijing over its involvement in the US investigation of Huawei Technologies, after its CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada. Photo: Reuters alt=HSBC has had to reassure Beijing over its involvement in the US investigation of Huawei Technologies, after its CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada. Photo: ReutersLast month, HSBC also was ordered by the Malaysian government to transfer more than 1 billion ringgit (US$238.5 million) from an account held by the state-owned China Petroleum Pipeline Engineering in a dispute over a pipeline project that was suspended last year. HSBC has declined to comment.There have been calls by some netizens in China to add HSBC to the unreliable list since word of the bank's cooperation in the Huawei case and the Malaysian seizure became public. On July 15, the day after the funds seizure in Malaysia, a blog operated by China's state-owned Beijing Daily newspaper started publishing calls to put HSBC on the unreliable list.The Chinese Ministry of Commerce, responsible for the list, has said it is still in the process of preparation and declined to comment on specifics.Staying on Beijing's good side is critical as mainland China becomes a larger component of the bank's business, particularly as the country's financial services industry opens further.In the past four years, HSBC has opened the first majority-owned joint venture securities company in China, debuted a sole-branded credit card and doubled the size of its workforce. In July, the bank said that it was creating a US$880 million technology fund to provide financing to early stage companies in the Greater Bay Area.Tucker, the HSBC chairman, said that the company remains committed to its strategy, which is heavily reliant on growth in mainland China and Hong Kong.Operating income, which is similar to revenue in the US, rose 5.9 per cent to US$7.54 billion in the bank's Asia business in the second quarter. HSBC to cut 2 per cent of its workforce as bank looks to reduce costsDespite the positive quarter, HSBC said last week that it would cut less than two per cent of its workforce. That was less dramatic than the 18,000 job cuts announced at Deutsche Bank in July, but represented an admission that the bank, which employs nearly 238,000 people worldwide, needed to reduce the pace of its expense growth to achieve its target for returns in 2020."We could see the revenue outlook softening. We knew to get to 11 per cent [return on tangible equity] we had to get there a different way," Ewen Stevenson, the HSBC CFO, said.This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2019 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved. Copyright (c) 2019. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.