HSBC chief executive Michael Geoghegan said he expected to halve the number of staff working at desks in the bank’s £1.1bn headquarters in Canary Wharf by 2014. The Times

HSBC started preparing to downsize in April when it sold its headquarters to Spanish property group Metrovacesa in the UK’s biggest single property deal. It has taken a 20-year leaseback.

Speaking at a conference in Lisbon yesterday, Geoghegan said: 'I’ve challenged us within seven years to have 50% of that building empty, to sublet to someone else. I don’t think we’re a really progressive, perceptive company if 8,000 people have to get up every day at an unearthly hour and go back again. Technology should change our thought process.'