Asia-focused lender HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBC, HSBA.L) on Monday reported significantly higher pre-tax profit in its third quarter, mainly on the absence of prior year's hefty loss on items as well as strong growth in revenues.
HSBC further noted that its Insurance and Asset Management businesses in the region had generated higher annualised new business premiums and assets under management, up 13 percent and 17 percent respectively for the first nine months of the year.
The strong results came despite the bank booking more than $770m of exceptional costs for the quarter, including $101m spent on setting up a ring-fenced United Kingdom retail bank to comply with new regulations.
Pretax profit was $4.6 billion in the September quarter, up from $843 million in the same period a year ago, HSBC said in a stock exchange filing.
Outgoing chief executive, Stuart Gulliver, has started steering the bank towards Asia to take advantage of the continent's growing middle class. Newly-appointed boss John Flint will lead the bank's efforts in Asia when he takes up his post next February.
HSBC Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver said the bank's global network continued to deliver strong growth in the third quarter, and its pivot to Asia was driving higher returns and lending growth, particularly in Hong Kong.
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HSBC is in the midst of carrying out a restructuring with the goal of increasing profitability. He will be replaced by John Flint, now head of the bank's retail and wealth management arm, the company said earlier this month.
HSBC shares in Hong Kong shed 0.3 percent, in line with the market's broader trend.
Mr Flint, who now heads up retail banking and wealth management at the lender, will take up the role on February 21. Finance head, Iain Mackay, said balances there had grown to over $1 billion from "a very small base".
The bank makes more than half of its profits in Asia, and its regional pivot is centred around China's Pearl River Delta region with billions in investment commitments and plans to bolster its retail and wealth management business.
The bank has also been able to maintain its capital buffers and dividends despite multiple rounds of share buyback programs.
"This is a market that is extremely important to us, we've seen good growth coming through over the course of the last 12 months".
The bank could end up moving fewer than 1,000 jobs to Paris following Britain's exit from the European Union, Mackay told reporters on a conference call, following previous remarks from senior bank executives suggesting that many roles would move.
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