(Bloomberg) -- HSBC Holdings Plc has started a new round of job cuts at its Asia investment bank amid a slump in dealmaking across the region, according to people familiar with the matter.

The London-based lender cut around a dozen bankers across its investment banking division in Asia on Tuesday, one of the people said, asking not to be identified discussing a private matter. 

HSBC joined global rivals including UBS Group AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc. that have already made several rounds of job cuts in Asia over the past 18 months as stock sales and mergers tumble. Dealflow in Hong Kong and China, HSBC’s core markets, is especially sluggish as the world’s second-largest economy has struggled to find a firm footing post-pandemic.

A Hong Kong-based spokesperson said that the size of the bank’s workforce will fluctuate in any given year and overall, its investment banking division delivered strong results during “a very challenging few years.”

Initial public offerings have been depressed in Hong Kong, with proceeds slumping to the lowest in more than two decades last year. The money raised from IPOs fell another 29% in the first quarter to about $605 million, the worst three-month period since the global financial crisis.

HSBC’s head for global banking and markets Greg Guyett said earlier this month Hong Kong’s IPO market isn’t likely to recover until at least the second half of this year, even as investment flows to China show signs of rebounding.

The bank’s overall headcount for global banking and markets will probably “continue to trend down” as the firm leverages technology to streamline operations, said Guyett.  

Still, HSBC has been building out its investment bank in Asia in recent years with hires across the region and its job cuts have been less severe compared to other Wall Street banks. The UK lender last year dismissed at least four Hong Kong-based bankers, and in the previous year, it trimmed its debt team in Hong Kong. 

Guyett has also said he wants to hire senior bankers with good client relationships in other Asian locations such as Singapore and Mumbai. 

--With assistance from Elffie Chew and Dong Cao.

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