HSBC sees 1.2% fall in net profit for the year to December

22 February 2016
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Europe’s biggest bank has posted a 1.2% decline in net profit to $13.52 billion for the 12 months to December compared to a year earlier, citing a slowdown in China, among other issues.

Pre-tax profit was up 1% compared to a year earlier to $18.87 billion, the bank said, below market expectations.

The lender said 2015 had delivered a “difficult market environment”.

However, group chairman Douglas Flint said the bank’s financial performance was “broadly satisfactory”.

“2015 was marked by some seismic shifts in global economic conditions, most notably the continuation of a sharp decline in commodity and oil prices, in part attributable to growing concerns over China’s slowing economic growth,” he said.

HSBC’s Hong Kong-listed shares fell on the profit report and were down 0.5% in afternoon trade.

Tough year

The lender’s group chief executive also noted the bank had seen a tough year in 2015, but that it was continuing to focus on delivering cost-cutting measures announced in June last year.

“Targeted investment, prudent lending and our diversified, universal banking business model helped us achieve revenue growth in a difficult market environment, whilst also reducing risk-weighted assets,” said group chief executive Stuart Gulliver.

Asia accounts for the majority of the lender’s profit, however, its headquarters have been in the UK since 1993.

Earlier this month, after a months-long review amid concerns about stricter UK regulations, the lender said it would keep its headquarters in London.

The most likely alternative for any move would have been Hong Kong.

HSBC said it had decided unanimously against the move and that London offered “the best outcome” for its shareholders and customers.

HSBC, which launched its review in April, is understood to have paid about £30m to advisors to help it reach the decision, which was was seen as a vote of confidence for the UK.

However, some analysts said the decision to stay in London was not a good one because it meant HSBC would face tighter regulations together with the cost of the UK bank levy.

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