HSBC seeks new UAE wealth and retail head as bank axes jobs

HSBC is seeking a new head of retail banking and wealth management in the UAE after Khaled Elgibaly left in October.

Mr Elgibaly’s departure, for personal reasons, came a month before the bank let 150 people go in the UAE across its business as part of a cost-cutting effort, according to an HSBC spokeswoman.

The jobs were mostly in retail and wealth management as well as commercial banking but the spokeswoman declined to specify.


“He left the bank for other opportunities back in October,” a spokeswoman said by email on Tuesday. “We are looking for a replacement.”

HSBC said, however, that Mr Elgibaly’s departure was unrelated to the restructuring.

The bank is joined by its main international competitor in the UAE, Standard Chartered, and other local lenders in feeling the heat from falling oil prices more intensely.

FGB, one the country’s biggest banks by assets in the UAE, let about 100 people go last month amid increasing signs that the crash in oil prices is starting to have an effect on the profitability of lenders as deposits dwindle and some customers, mostly small and medium-sized enterprises, face difficulty in paying debt back.

As a result of an expected slowdown in government spending, many bank chiefs expect loan growth to cool next year as economic growth begins to slow and banks become more risk-averse when choosing who to give loans to.

HSBC and Standard Chartered, among the biggest of the international banks operating in the UAE, are also facing troubles elsewhere.

HSBC said in June that is was planning to cut 50,000 jobs globally as part of an effort to reduce costs by US$5 billion a year by 2017. It also said it was selling its banking operations in Brazil and Turkey to focus on emerging markets in Asia.

However, it also said in June, before the drop in oil began to accelerate in earnest, that its UAE business featured prominently in its growth plans.

Standard Chartered said in July it had appointed a new chief executive to lead its business in the Middle East and Africa as the bank undertakes a global overhaul to help it become profitable again.

mkassem@thenational.ae

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