HSBC Plc, the London-based banking giant, is on the verge of sacking 10,000 employees as part of its recently announced cost-cutting drive, says a Sky News report widely quoted in the media.
The broadcaster, unwittingly in the media eye over a failed takeover bid by Rupert Murdoch's tainted News Corp, said on Wednesday that senior executives at HSBC "are close to finalising costs cuts that will result in thousands of jobs being axed across the bank's sprawling global empire".
A bank spokeswoman in Hong Kong today declined comment on the report, Reuters reported.
The job cuts would come from trimming the company's head office functions and closing retail banking operations "no longer deemed to be core to the bank's future", the Sky report said.
In May, HSBC said it would slash costs by up to $3.5 billion by 2013, with its new chief executive Stuart Gulliver saying the savings would be ploughed back into fast-growing markets around the world, especially in Asia.
The lender has already said it would be hiring at least 2,000 extra people in mainland China and Singapore over the next five years, as it seeks to tap the fast-growing Asia Pacific market.
HSBC was founded in Hong Kong and Shanghai in 1865; and was earlier known as the Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank.
Listed on the London and Hong Kong exchanges, it continues to regard Asia as its most important region.
HSBC's move would be the latest in a wave of cuts announced by the global financial industry, which has been hit by market volatility and lacklustre profits. Just today, Credit Suisse announced it would cut about 2,000 jobs.
Standard Chartered, Lloyds, Goldman Sachs and UBS are among banks that have announced job cuts in recent months, hit by rising costs and weak revenue growth.
HSBC has about 330,000 employees worldwide, and the Sky report comes after it said in May it was looking for sustainable cost savings of $2.5 billion to $3.5 billion in order to reach a cost efficiency ratio target of 48-52 per cent by 2013.
It also said it would be conducting a strategic review of its cards business in the United States, and would limit its retail banking operations to markets where it can achieve a profitable scale.
It cut 700 jobs in its UK retail banking arm in June this year out of its staff of 55,000 in the country.