Senior management at HSBC and its subsidiary Hang Seng Bank may be facing a pay freeze for the upcoming year.  According to sources familiar with the matter, other roles would not be affected, the Sing Tao Daily reports.

Reportedly, the bank plans to increase its salary budget by 3% for the upcoming year, lower than the 3.5% for 2016. If the bank decides to issue a pay freeze for senior managers, it will affect department and regional heads, general managers, and chief executives or those in band 0 to 3 according to the the bank's GCBs (global career band).  It is expected to affect hundreds of people or about 5% of the bank's local workforce.

In last week's Q3 2016 results presentation, HSBC chief executive Stuart Gulliver hinted that the bank has plans to cut more jobs in 2017 but has no plans to freeze pay.

In February this year, the bank announced a pay freeze for staff of all levels. But less than two weeks later, Gulliver issued a memo announcing there would be a pay rise for the bank’s employees.  He explained in the memo the pay rises would be funded from the 2016 variable bonus pool.

A senior member of the staff at the bank told Oriental Daily that since the pay rise for 2016 was funded by the bonus pool, staff at both HSBC and Hang Seng do not have high hopes for this year's end of year bonuses.

On the other hand, mainland banks have been aggressive with retaining and attracting talent with generous salary offers, with some positions getting pay rises up to 5%.

A spokesperson from HSBC told Sing Tao Daily that the pay level of staff will depend on performance and local salary levels.

HSBC hires around 20,000 people in Hong Kong, and Hang Seng bank has close to 8,000 staff members.

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Photo: HSBC