World
HSBC announces layoffs, exit from Turkey and Brazil
HSBC on Tuesday announced a new strategic plan that includes a restructuring of 10 percent of its global workforce, review of the possibility of moving its headquarters, its exit from markets in Turkey and Brazil, and an expansion of its operations in Asia.
 
The new business plan seeks to cut costs by $5 billion and push the return on equity to over 10 percent by 2017, Efe news agency reported.
 
In a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange, the bank also announced plans to step up investments in Asia with special focus on China and Southeast Asia.
 
The bank is planning to expand asset management and insurance operations in China's Pearl river delta region in addition to pushing the internationalisation of the yuan.
 
HSBC, the largest European bank with its headquarters in London, will also be studying the possibility of relocating to Hong Kong by the end of the year, experts say.
 
Several economic journals citing a presentation made by HSBC on the internet reported that the company was planning to slash 22,000 jobs, thereby reducing its global force by 10 percent.
 
This is the second round of layoffs by the bank in the last four years.
 
In 2011, the company announced its decision to cut 30,000 jobs.
 
Company shares rose 2.4 percent in Hong Kong following the announcement.

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ICICI Bank approves M.K.Sharma as non-executive chairman
The board of ICICI Bank on Tuesday approved the appointment of M.K.Sharma as the new non-executive chairman for a period of 5 years, to succeed K.V.Kamath, who has been named the first president of the BRICS New Development Bank.
 
Sharma was formerly the vice chairman of Hindustan Unilever, ICICI Bank said in a statement here.
 
"The appointment of the new non-executive chairman is subject to the prior approval of the Reserve Bank of India and would be effective July 1, 2015 or the date of receipt of RBI approval, whichever is later," the statement said.
 
Sharma was an independent director on the ICICI Bank's board from 2003 to 2011, and is an independent director of several companies including two of the bank's subsidiaries - the ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company and ICICI Prudential Asset Management Company, the statement added.

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NCDRC Says ‘Unfair’ Builder Contracts Not Binding
National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) rejected the arguments of a real estate company that provisions mutually agreed upon in a builder-buyer agreement (BBA) are sacrosanct. The apex consumer court was hearing an array of cases filed by 26 buyers who, in 2009-10, had invested in Unitech’s Vistas project. Possession of flats was not handed over as promised by December 2012—not an uncommon problem in the realty sector. Forty buyers then moved NCDRC in November 2014. Of these, cases of 26 complainants were listed for final hearing, after a series of hearings over the past six months. The Commission’s verdict, though, is still reserved.
 
“The agreement clearly mentions the developer would pay 1.8% of the amount paid as penalty, in case of delay in handing over flats,” said advocate Sunil Goel, who represented Unitech.
But NCDRC rejected the argument on grounds that it can challenge any unfair trade practice, even if there is a prior agreement between the parties. “When the buyer is made to pay 18% penalty for default, is it fair on the developer’s part to pay a mere 1.8%?” said Justice VK Jain who heard the matter.
 
Unitech’s counsel cited several factors, like economic slowdown, shortage of labour availability and scarcity of raw materials, all of which were dismissed by NCDRC. “When the company has already collected over 90% of the cost, why is it affected by the state of the economy? Most delays happen because developers transfer money collected in lieu of one project into another. This is a very common practice,” said Justice Jain.

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