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HSBC Slashes Staff, Puts More Focus on Asia

FILE - The logo of HSBC Bank is displayed on the facade of HSBC France headquarters on the Champs Elysees in Paris, Feb. 9, 2015.

One of the world's largest banks, HSBC, is planning to cut up to 50,000 employees, place more focus on Asia, overhaul its global operations, and perhaps move its headquarters out of London.

The job cuts affect about 19 percent of the staff over the next two years. Half of those cuts will come from selling operations in Turkey and Brazil, though the bank will maintain a presence in Brazil to service business customers. HSBC's staff in the U.K. also faces thousands of jobs cuts.

The overhaul will also reduce the global banking and markets division. HSBC operates in more than 70 nations with over 6,000 branches, has tens of millions of customers, and assets of more than $2.6 trillion.

HSBC Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver says the current return on investment is "unacceptable." In a briefing for investors, he said the changes are intended to make the business more profitable by cutting costs by billions of dollars and expanding operations in China and other parts of Asia to take advantage of relatively strong economic growth in those areas. Gulliver also says HSBC is expanding its asset management and insurance operations in China and is well positioned to benefit from growing global trade.