(Bloomberg) -- HSBC Holdings Plc has seen at least four Hong Kong-based bankers leave amid a dearth of deals in the region, according to people familiar with the matter. 

The bank cut staff within its commercial banking origination unit for Greater China, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing internal information.  

A bank spokesperson declined to comment.

HSBC and firms including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc. have been cutting staff in the region as deals slow amid macro-economic concerns and tumultuous markets. In a bad year for deals globally, the value of mergers and acquisitions in mainland China and Hong Kong is on course to be the lowest for any year since 2013, and little more than half the annual average since then.

Read more: HK Bankers Have More Free Time and Tension: Bloomberg Deals

HSBC’s commercial bank origination team is focused on driving investment-banking opportunities among the lender’s mid-cap clients. Despite the slowdown, the bank has been investing further in China, and in October agreed to buy Citigroup’s retail wealth management portfolio. It also raised its stake in its Chinese securities venture last year. 

Separately, Eric Bai, HSBC’s global co-head of the financial institutions group has quit recently, according to the people. He plans to start his own artificial intelligence venture, one of the people said. 

Alexander Paul, the other co-head, will become sole leader of the group, people familiar said, asking not to be identified discussing internal information. A spokesperson for the London-based bank declined to comment. 

Bai was based in Hong Kong and previously worked at Goldman Sachs Group Inc, according to LinkedIn. He took on the role of global co-head of investment banking coverage serving financial institutions in 2020, when the lender reshuffled the ranks of its investment bank.

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