HSBC beats profit expectations on drop in fines

2 November 2015 06:30 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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REUTERS:  HSBC reported a better than expected 32 percent rise in pre-tax profit for the third quarter, with a drop in fines for past misconduct countering the impact of a slowdown in Asia and a jump in spending on regulatory compliance.

Costs related to fines and compensation for customers fell by US $ 1.4 billion from the third quarter of last year, marking its progress on conduct issues that have marred recent quarterly earnings reports.

Yet the London-based lender continues to grapple with declining revenue and also reported that it spent US $ 2.2 billion on regulation and compliance in the first nine months of the year, up 33 percent year-on-year, even as the British government looks to take a more accommodative stance towards the industry.
Underlying revenue fell 4 percent to US $ 15.1 billion compared with the same quarter last year, as plunging stock markets and slowing economic growth hit its business in Asia.

“HSBC management have done a very good job of trying to correct its internal problems, but these results show no bank can improve revenues if the global economy is against it,” said Jim Antos, analyst at Mizuho Securities Asia in Hong Kong.

The bank reported a profit of US $ 6.1 billion for the three months to the end of September 30, up from US $ 4.6 billion. That was more than the consensus estimate of US $ 5.2 billion, based on the average of analysts’ forecasts compiled by the bank.

Adjusted profit for the quarter fell 14 percent from a year ago to US $ 5.5 billion, taking into account the lower fines and a gain from the sale of its stake in Industrial Bank.

HSBC’s London shares were down 0.6 percent at 504 pence by 0810 GMT, broadly in line with a weaker European bank index.

The shares are down 17 percent this year -- hurt by concerns about slowing Asian growth -- compared with a 2 percent rise for the European banking sector.

Goals progress
HSBC said there had been “no visible impact” on credit quality in Asia, with losses from bad loans coming in lower than analysts had expected.

The earnings update gave investors a first chance to check on progress on the 10 goals HSBC management had set in June, including a 25 percent reduction to risk-weighted assets, the sale of operations in Turkey and Brazil and US $ 4.5 billion to US $ 5 billion in cost cuts.

HSBC said it was nearly 30 percent of the way towards completing the reduction in its assets and achieved US $ 400 million of cost savings in the quarter.
That helped the bank improve its common equity capital ratio to 11.8 percent at the end of September, from 11.6 percent three months earlier.

Perhaps the most-watched of the 10 goals by investors is the bank’s strategic review into whether it should move its headquarters out of Britain, with Hong Kong viewed as the most likely destination.

HSBC said it had made progress on this but the decision could slip beyond its original year-end deadline, echoing comments made by Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver in October. 
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