HSBC profits jump 28% as wealth management income picks up

HSBC profits rose 28% in the third quarter of this year, as the bank reined in spending and wealth management income picked up for the firm.

The FTSE 100 giant announced pre-tax profits of $6.2bn (£4.8bn) for the three months to Sept 30, up 16% from $5.3bn the previous year.

Reported revenue rose 6.3% to $13.8bn over the period, driven by a rise in deposits across the global business, primarily in Asia.

The wealth management division’s profits were up 3% to $100m (£78m) year on year over the nine months to date, despite “investments in digital capabilities and investments to grow the business.”

The bank said that its wealth management division had been boosted by “increased investor confidence in the equity markets, higher mutual fund distribution and higher wealth insurance distribution.”

It added: “In wealth management, higher investment distribution revenue, reflecting increased investor confidence, more than offset lower life insurance manufacturing revenue, which included a net adverse movement in market impacts.”

Meanwhile, expenses were reduced by 2% between the second and third quarter and revenue – spending fell to $7.7bn from $7.9bn.

John Flint (pictured), who was appointed as HSBC’s chief executive last year, said: “These are encouraging results that demonstrate the revenue potential of HSBC. We are doing what we said we would – delivering growth from areas of strength, and investing in the business while keeping a strong grip on costs.

“We remain committed to growing profits, generating value for shareholders and improving the service we offer our customers around the world,” he added.

Regarding the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Flint said Saudi Arabia is unlikely to see significant impact on its foreign trade and investment flows.

“It has been a difficult few weeks for the kingdom, this has not been good for Saudi Arabia,” he told Reuters in an interview.

“I understand the emotion around the story, but it is very difficult to think about disengaging from Saudi Arabia given its importance to global energy markets,” he added.

HSBC has played an increasingly active role in Saudi Arabia in recent years. Flint said the bank will remain supportive of its local affiliate in the kingdom, Saudi British Bank (SABB).

The European lender has booked over $3bn in profit from its investment in SABB and around $170m in investment banking fees from the country since 2008, according to Refinitiv data.

Pedro Gonçalves
Pedro Gonçalves is Financial Correspondent at International Investment.

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