HSBC in Hong Kong isn’t “exciting” enough, say young bankers

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HSBC in Hong Kong isn’t “exciting” enough, say young bankers

Senior investment bankers and traders aren’t the only ones feeling the heat at HSBC in Hong Kong as the bank tries to keep a lid on costs. Some recently hired graduates at the bank say their HSBC jobs haven’t quite lived up to expectations so far.

HSBC has reportedly started a cost review that could lead to mid-year job cuts, particularly in the Global Banking and Markets (GBM) division. Chief Executive Officer John Flint rebuked senior executives in Hong Kong last month for not achieving revenue and cost targets, according to Bloomberg. Markets revenues at the Asia-focused bank, for example, fell 7% in 2018, partly because of weak fourth quarter equities trading in Hong Kong.

But while the potential redundancies are likely to mainly affect senior staff, juniors at HSBC in Hong Kong say travel and hiring restrictions at the bank are now visible even to them. 

A Hong Kong-based HSBC analyst says he’s also worried about the root of the problem – the bank’s deal flow. HSBC didn’t make the top-10 banks for Q1 APAC (ex-Japan) revenue in either M&A or ECM (although it did place sixth in DCM), according to Dealogic data.

A GBM associate, who joined HSBC in Hong Kong in 2015, says that there’s not enough going on work-wise for her and that she wants to move to a busier, more exciting investment bank. She adds, however, that HSBC still has a decent platform.

HSBC already has a reputation for not working its juniors as hard as US banks in Hong Kong do. Writing on this website last year – when Asian markets were more buoyant – one young HSBC banker described its culture as “nice” and “soft”, and said her working hours were fairly reasonable. Now, it seems, juniors at HSBC wouldn’t mind putting in some extra hours.

HSBC has not replied to a request to comment on this article. The bank posts its first quater results on Friday.

Image credit: danielvfung, Getty

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