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HSBC profit up 10%, co-operating with forex probes

Monday, 4 Nov 2013 | 3:18 AM ET
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

HSBC on Monday reported third-quarter underlying profit before tax of $5.06 billion in the third quarter, a rise of 10 percent year-on-year. Pre-tax profit, meanwhile, was up 30 percent on the same time last year $3.49 billion.

The group also said it was co-operating with investigations by the U.K.'s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and other authorities related to trading in foreign exchange markets.

The news comes as other European banking giants, including UBS, Barclays, RBS and Deutsche Bank are also being investigated for alleged manipulation of the world's currency market.

(Read more: Banks brace for billion-dollar forex probe)

The earnings follow a turbulent year at the bank, with tougher banking regulation, litigation and attempts to cut costs as part of a restructuring program, led by chief executive Stuart Gulliver, occupying the banking group.

Net interest income for the third quarter was $8.71 billion, against $9.11 billion for the same period last year. Meanwhile, third-quarter net profit hit $3.2 billion compared with $2.5 billion this time last year.

In May, the bank signaled it was to re-double its cost-cutting efforts, axing up to 14,000 more jobs globally in a bid to make up to $3 billion in additional savings by 2016.

In the bank's earnings statement, Gulliver said the bank had made further progress toward simplifying and restructuring and, in terms of outlook, said there were reasons for optimism "with some evidence of a broadening recovery."

HSBC no longer the world's local bank: Pro
Chris Skinner, CEO of Balatro, and Charles Diebel, head of market strategy at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, discuss HSCB's third quarter earnings.

Analysts said the results reflected the bank's efforts to streamline operations around the world, throwing the bank's motto of being "the world's local bank" into doubt.

Chris Skinner, chief executive of Balatro, told CNBC the bank still had a lot of restructuring to do and that a 10 percent increase in underlying pre-tax profit was "low."

"Every bank that's had this universal banking aspiration, like the Citi's and Deutsche's [Citigroup and Deutsche Bank], have pulled back from those aspirations since the crisis hit and HSBC is one of those. They're no longer the world's local bank, they're the local bank in much of the world but not the whole of the world," Skinner told CNBC Europe's "Squawk Box"on Monday.

He added that banks needed to focus on what their "core competencies" were, as HSBC was doing.

Charles Diebel, head of market strategy at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking said the results reflected the "knock-on effects from the financial crisis".

"When are we going to get to the stage again when it will be trendy again to re-globalize because at the moment everyone is curtailing their activity rather than expanding their activity?"

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