As the bank returns to steady profitability, it plans to return cash to shareholders through higher dividends and stock buybacks.
Headcount has already fallen from 300,000 when chief executive Stuart Gulliver took over two years ago to 254,000 now, and is set to fall as low as 240,000 in two more years.
It is part of a wider plan to cut costs – the bank has cut $4bn (£2.6bn) per year off its bills already, in large part by closing or selling more than 50 businesses.
But it is fighting an uphill battle against the new tide of regulation, hiring another 900 risk and compliance staff in the first quarter, and potentially hiring thousands more in the coming years.
HSBC’s shares rose 0.79 per cent.