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HSBC's Results Shine, North American Profits Rise

Tom Burroughes

28 April 2021

announced yesterday that it had logged an adjusted pre-tax profit of $6.4 billion in the first three months of this year, surging by 109 per cent. This was helped by last year’s bad loan provisions made amid the pandemic having been reversed. The improved economic outlook meant that the UK/Hong Kong-listed group was able to release allowances for expected losses.

All regions made profits in the first quarter. In North America, adjusted pre-tax profit was $522 million, against a loss of $5 million a year earlier, and up from $228 million in the final three months of 2020, the group said. 

“The economic outlook has improved, although uncertainties remain. We carry good momentum into the second quarter, while maintaining conservative positions on capital, funding, liquidity and credit,” Noel Quinn, group chief executive, said.

HSBC said reported revenue fell by 5 per cent to $13.0 billion due to the impact of 2020 interest rate reductions in all global businesses. Reported operating costs rose by 9 per cent from higher restructuring and other related costs from HSBC’s transformation programme and increased investment in technology. Adjusted operating costs rose by 3 per cent due to a higher performance-related pay accrual, partly offset by cost-saving initiatives. 

Within wealth and personal banking – the segment including coverage for high net worth and ultra-HNW clients – adjusted pre-tax profit rose to $1.914 billion in Q1, against $688 million a year earlier. Global private banking adjusted revenue stood at $488 million, slipping by 8 per cent year-on-year. Results were squeezed by lower net interest income amid lower global interest rates.