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HSBC's Profits Rise; North America Shines

Tom Burroughes, Group Editor , May 3, 2019


North American results within the group show a swing back into profit from a year earlier and improvement in Q1 from the previous three months.

Hong Kong/UK-listed HSBC today said its reported post-tax income for the first quarter rose by 31 per cent to $4.9 billion, while reported revenue and adjusted revenues rose by 5 per cent and 9 per cent, respectively, buoyed by higher markets and gains from disposals.

Before tax, profits stood at $6.213 billion, up by 30.7 per cent, the bank said in a statement. 

The private banking pre-tax income rose to $98 million in Q1 from $60 million from the previous quarter, but fell from $111 million a year earlier, the bank said. The year-on-year drop was mainly caused by the “impact of our repositioning actions in the US, partly offset by lower operating expenses”.

Adjusted revenue in private banking stood at $450 million, down by 4 per cent, mainly caused by the bank’s repositioning actions, and lower Swiss revenues, which was partly offset by revenue growth in Asia. 

During Q1, the private bank attracted $10 billion of net new money inflows, mainly in Europe and Asia, HSBC said. 

Across the entire HSBC group, all regions with the exception of Europe posted a profit in Q1. In North America, the bank made a reported pre-tax profit of $379 million in Q1, up from $290 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, and recovering from a loss of $596 million a year before.

The bank said its Common equity tier 1 ratio – a common measure of a bank’s capital structure – rose 30 basis points from December 31, 2018 to 14.3 per cent.

“These are an encouraging set of results, particularly in the context of heightened economic uncertainty globally. We remain focused on executing the strategy we outlined last June, while also being alert to risks in the global economy,” John Flint, group chief executive, said.

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