STANDARD Chartered Bank aims to cut its worldwide staff of 30,000 to 27,000 next year, concentrating on staff working in non-core business, back-office and support functions, says an internal memo. 'Support functions employ more than 9,000 staff and we have an objective to achieve a 25 per cent reduction, which will be more than 2,000 people,' the memo says, making a saving of GBP50 million (about HK$604 million). The bank said there had been significant improvement in core activities and 'further improvements will come from the elimination of non-core businesses, together with efficiency improvement from support functions'. It had already cut 1,000 to 2,000 from its staff this year, the group's communications head John Pank said: 'This is part of our ongoing restructuring programme to consolidate the back office and support office operations.' Running at a cost to income ratio of around 63 per cent, the bank has set a target range of 50 per cent to 55 per cent. The memo said: '55 per cent represents the maximum level that can be tolerated.' Mr Pank said it would be difficult to gauge how many staff in Hong Kong would be affected. He said reductions had already been achieved in India, where 300 to 400 staff had joined a voluntary severance scheme. The memo did not specify which jobs were directly in the firing line.