HONG KONG/LONDON (Reuters) – Noel Quinn, the interim chief executive of HSBC (HSBA.L), says this time things are going to be different.
Unveiling the bank’s third overhaul since the financial crisis, Quinn told Reuters this week that the latest revamp would be less reliant on external factors, such as global interest rates and China’s economy.
“I believe this plan is predicated on three things we can control, which are costs, simplification of the business, and capital efficiency, rather than being dependent on revenue growth assumptions influenced by the macroeconomic environment,” he said.
Investors and HSBC employees aren’t convinced.
In a call with staff on Tuesday, Quinn and Chief Financial Officer Ewen Stevenson were put on the defensive over the bank’s commitment to the overhaul given that Quinn, the man unveiling it, has not been made permanent.
“Internally, expectations had built up in the run up to the strategy update that Quinn will be confirmed as the group CEO,” said a person with knowledge of the call.
“But the way the whole thing is being handled … it has created more confusion about the strategy and whether the bank will stick to it for the next three years even if there is a change at the top.”
HSBC’s shares dropped 6.6% on Tuesday to their lowest level in more than three years after the bank, which has struggled to keep pace with leaner and more focused rivals, said it would suspend buybacks for two years to pay for the restructuring.