HSBC profits more than doubled


HSBC has reported its profits more than doubled in 2010 to 19 billion US dollars (£11.8 billion)

Banking giant HSBC has revealed its annual profits have more than doubled, with results recovering to levels not seen since before the financial crisis.

The group posted pre-tax profits of 19 billion US dollars (£12 billion) last year, up from 7.1 billion dollars (£4.4 billion) in 2009.

Its 2010 haul – the biggest of the UK players – marks a return to pre-crisis profits, coming close to the 24.2 billion dollars (£15 billion) seen in 2007.

HSBC revealed its highest paid banker, who was not named, was paid between £8.4 million and £8.5 million for 2010 – more than the chief executive’s package.

The bank said the compensation ratio of its Global Banking and Markets (GBM) investment banking division – given as a percentage of revenues – remained unchanged at 23%, despite a 9% drop in the division’s profits.

However, HSBC said its GBM global bonus pool was down 10% and added UK bonuses were 15% lower, although it did not provide figures.

Despite the hefty rise in profits last year, shares fell 5% as the figure came in shy of the 20 billion dollars (£12.3 billion) expected.

In the UK, profits edged higher to 2.4 billion dollars (£1.5 billion) from 2.1 billion (£1.3 billion) a year earlier. On an underlying basis, HSBC said group-wide profits rose 36% to 18.4 billion dollars (£11.4 billion).

As with many of its rivals, the group’s figures were helped by significant falls in bad debt losses, almost halving to 14 billion dollars (£8.6 billion) in 2010.

But HSBC’s new chairman Douglas Flint said the group will “not forget” the financial crisis and support provided by governments around the world, adding the group entered 2011 “with humility”.

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