Europe’s biggest bank HSBC is planning to invest between $15-$17bn in new technology as part of a new growth strategy announced by its chief executive John Flint.
The eight point strategic plan presented to investors by Flint is designed to return the bank to “growth mode” after almost a decade of declining revenues and also features further investment in Asia, a strengthening of its international presence and a promise to turnaround its US business.
“After a period of restructuring, it is now time for HSBC to get back into growth mode,” said Flint.
More specifically, the bank is hoping that the technology investment will help it to achieve a return on equity of 11% by 2020.
Flint, who was appointed in February, also told investors that the bank’s organisational simplification plan would not involve a major reduction in headcount, although he stopped short of ruling out any job losses.
“The reality is technology is transforming our industry in quite unusual and rapid ways. We have to be alert to that,” he said.
“We… will benchmark our cost efficiency against our peers and where we are inefficient we will have to work out solutions to get us back in line.
“So no plans at this stage for anything with respect to redundancies or retrenchment or anything like that but HSBC will continue to evolve through this period because we will have to respond to the way in which customers are changing the way they interact with the bank, largely through technology.”
Flint did rule out the prospect of any more branch closures in the UK, along with a vow to keep to dividends at current levels and to launch more share buybacks.