HSBC posted full-year profits of $20.6 billion on Monday, somewhat lower than market analysts had been expecting, writes David Sapsted for Re:locate.
The figure represented a 6% drop on last year but came despite the banking giant having to pay a record $1.9 billion fine to the US authorities to settle money-laundering accusations.
he bank said that, after stripping out the impact of movements in the value of its debt, underlying profits were up 18% to $16.4 billion.
HSBC, which makes about 90% of its money outside Britain, said it had benefited from its exposure to emerging markets in Asia.
Since the onset of the financial crisis, Stuart Gulliver, who was appointed chief executive in 2011, has reduced HSBC's worldwide workforce by 10% to its current level of 270,000, and announced the disposal or closure of 47 businesses and non-core investments.
Immediately after the profit announcement, HSBC shares fell by up to 3% because analysts had been expecting a figure in excess of $23 billion.
But Joe Rundle, head of trading at ETX Capital in London, said he believed the decline would be only temporary.
"With the penalties now settled and out of the way, a major overhang on the stock price has been removed and traders are likely to focus on HSBC's ongoing cost cutting programme and ongoing disposal programme," he said.
The bank paid the huge US fine after being accused by the US Senate of ignoring warnings and breaching safeguards that should have stopped the laundering of money from Mexico, Iran and Syria.
The findings led to the resignation of David Bagley, HSBC head of compliance.