HSBC chief executive Stuart Gulliver has cancelled a global pay freeze at the bank announced on January 29, according to an internal email sent to all staff on Thursday morning London time which has been forwarded to the South China Morning Post . But he made clear pay rises would be subject to individual staff’s performance reviews, and would be funded out of the bonus pool due to be paid out in March 2017. The bonus pool for last year, due to be paid out next month, would not be affected. A hiring freeze in place since the fourth quarter of 2015 would stay in place until further notice. “I have received very clear feedback on this decision, which has focused on both the decision itself together with the manner in which it was communicated,” Gulliver said of the pay freeze in the email. “I have listened to this feedback and have as a result decided to change the way these cost savings are to be achieved.” He reminded staff that global economic conditions remained exceptionally poor, while saying the staff bonus pool would be determined by their collective achievements. “Several of our competitors have recently announced large-scale redundancies, salary freezes, bonus reductions and further cost reduction programmes in addition to those already in place and, hence it is clear we are not alone in facing these challenges,” he said. I have listened to this feedback and have as a result decided to change the way these cost savings are to be achieved Stuart Gulliver, HSBC “As a result of these cost pressures, all of us must now really focus on delivering both the profit before tax in our 2016 annual operating plans and all of the actions we set out at our investor update on 9 June last year, including global standards. These in turn will lead to us meeting our target to deliver positive jaws (where the rate of cost growth is lower than the rate of revenue growth) in 2016 and a return on equity in excess of 10 per cent to our shareholders in 2017. It is success measured by these dimensions which will determine variable compensation and in turn total compensation.” As reported by the Post , HSBC is still hiring in China, with a focus on its developing Pearl River Delta base in Guangzhou, from where it has made encouraging noises about playing the role of the biggest international bank in China and developing an investment banking business focused on debt capital markets. More of its hires under a reallocated headcount are now based there, rather than its traditional base of Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, where its business have made the greater contribution to global net revenue to the tunes of 40 per cent of the overall global figures, staff union initiated a street protest last week against the pay freeze. The staff union said it found it “incomprehensible” that HSBC decided to penalise local staff with a pay freeze when only in November the group chalked up a 32 per cent year-on-year rise on quarterly profit, which amounted to US$6.1 billion. The bank is due to announce its 2015 full year results and its board’s final decision regarding the location of its headquarters on February 22.