HSBC Holdings eliminated 1,100 jobs in its global banking and markets divisions worldwide, triggering concerns that job cuts would extend to the bank's other business divisions and to Hong Kong. 'No one can rule out whether there will be further jobs cut or not. It all depends on the operating environment,' said Peter Wong Tung-shun, an executive director of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp, the Asia-Pacific unit of HSBC. Mr Wong said many international lenders had trimmed manpower before HSBC amid the global financial crisis which had dragged down economies. Gareth Hewett, the bank's Hong Kong-based spokesman, said the steps the bank took were in light of the current global business and economic environment and 'our caution' for next year. 'Markets continue to be challenging and difficult but our strategy leaves us well-positioned for the next wave of global growth, when it comes,' he said. Of the 1,100 jobs cut - representing 4 per cent of HSBC's wholesale banking workforce worldwide - about half were in Britain, and about 100 jobs were in Hong Kong, mainly in back-office operations such as information technology. Members of the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions staged a protest at the bank's Hong Kong headquarters in Central. The unions worry that the bank, one of the city's biggest employers with about 18,000 staff in Hong Kong, will lead to a trend of downsizing in the city. Billy Mak Sui-choi, an associate professor in the department of finance and decision science at Hong Kong Baptist University, said it was not surprising to see HSBC cut staff at its investment banking division as activities slowed down amid the financial turmoil. Mr Mak said whether commercial banks in Hong Kong followed HSBC's lead with similar action would depend on the economic situation. However, he said local banks might scale down certain businesses, such as wealth management, as demand declined amid the volatile investment environment. Some investors have suffered heavy losses from investing in products such as 'accumulators' or minibonds, which has affected confidence to a certain degree. 'There may be some pressure on wealth management business in the short term, but I don't think banks will change their strategy on expanding such business in the long run,' said Benjamin Hung Pi-cheng, the chief executive of Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong). He did not expect banks to cut jobs heavily in wealth management.