HSBC reports 6% fall in profits

Mid Devon Star: HSBC has posted pre-tax profits of more than 20 billion US dollars for 2012 HSBC has posted pre-tax profits of more than 20 billion US dollars for 2012

Banking giant HSBC has reported a 6% drop in full-year profits to 20.6 billion US dollars (£13.7 billion).

The figure, which comes despite HSBC's record fine of 1.9 billion US dollars (£1.2 billion) to settle a US investigation into money-laundering, was below City forecasts of around £23.4 billion US dollars (£15.6 billion).

The banking group makes an estimated 90% of its money outside Britain and has benefited from its exposure to emerging markets in Asia.

Chief executive Stuart Gulliver received a bonus of just under £2 million as part of a total pay and benefits package worth £7.4 million.

The overall figure, which compares with £8 million a year earlier, includes his base salary of £1.25 million, around £1.2 million of benefits including pension entitlement, plus long-term share incentive awards worth £3 million.

Mr Gulliver's bonus payment will be deferred and subject to possible clawback, while he will not be able to cash it in until he retires from or leaves HSBC.

HSBC suffered massive losses at the start of the financial crisis, due to its investment in US sub-prime mortgage lender Household Finance, but since taking over as chief executive in 2011 Mr Gulliver has led an overhaul of the bank's operations.

He has reduced headcount by around 10% to the current 270,000 and announced the disposal or closure of 47 businesses and non-core investments.

Stripping out the impact of movements in the value of its debt, HSBC said underlying profits were up 18% to 16.4 billion US dollars (£10.9 billion). This includes the fines levied by US authorities and an increased provision of 1.7 billion US dollars (£1.1 billion) to cover PPI mis-selling claims and 598 million US dollars (£398 million) on interest rate swaps in the UK.

Mr Gulliver said: "HSBC made significant progress in 2012. First and foremost we grew our business. We increased revenues, performed well in most faster-growing markets and enjoyed a record year in commercial banking."

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