HSBC's job cuts are a bad omen, especially for Deutsche and Barclays

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So, HSBC is cutting up to 500 jobs from its global banking and markets business, starting in as little as two weeks' time. It looks a lot like a warning to anyone who thought 2019 would be a walk-through. And it's a particular warning to anyone working at investment banking and markets operations that are under new management. 

Bloomberg says HSBC's coming cuts are the work of Greg Guyett, the new heavily tanned (at least in his LinkedIn photo) head of global banking who arrived in October 2018. Guyett previously spent 30 years at JPMorgan, where he was an investment banker. Not only will he now want to make his mark at HSBC, but Guyett may not be entirely patient with the turbulent revenues of a sales and trading business. 

HSBC's investment bankers aren't the only ones with a new boss. Barclays' bankers have fallen back into the lap of CEO Jes Staley, who's personally taken control of the investment bank following the recent departure of Tim Throsby and his naked minotaur.  - If returns at Barclays don't improve soon, Staley will need to demonstrate his potency.  And if Garth Ritchie does indeed leave Deutsche, the 500 cuts at HSBC could look inconsequential alongside layoffs made by his successor as head of DB's unit. 

HSBC isn't alone in making cuts. Financial News reports today that MUFG is also offering voluntary redundancy to all 500 directors and managing directors in London as it tries to become less top-heavy. Based on our recent analysis of Deutsche's managing director and director-heavy structure, Ritchie's successor might decide to try something similar when and if he arrives. 

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