HSBC’s half year profits fall

HSBC said it was facing unprecedented demands on its staff and operations from regulatory reforms as it reported a 12 per cent drop in profits in the first half of the year.

Europe’s biggest bank said pre-tax profits in the six months to the end of June were $12.3bn, down from $14.1bn a year earlier and just below an average forecast of $12.5bn from 15 analysts polled by the company.

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The fall was mainly due to a weak first three months of the year, when profits fell 20 per cent from a year ago when the bank’s revenues were boosted by asset sales.

The bank said: “The demands now being placed on the human capital of the firm and on our operational and systems capabilities are unprecedented. The cumulative workload arising from a regulatory reform programme that is unfortunately increasingly fragmented, often extra-territorial, still evolving and still adding definition is hugely consumptive of resources that would otherwise be customer facing.”