HSBC profit on the climb but warns over regulation

City A.M. Reporter
Europe's biggest bank HSBC said profits so far this year were "well ahead" of 2009 levels with losses on bad loans hurting less than at any point since the onset of the credit crisis in 2007.

HSBC , which named a new chairman and chief executive six weeks ago after a damaging boardroom power struggle, said loan impairments in the third quarter fell to their lowest quarterly level since early 2007.

However, chief executive Michael Geoghegan warned of new UK and European regulation for the banking sector.

To avoid unintended consequences it was "very important to maintain a level playing field globally," he said.

"It is... of some concern that the EU and UK appear to be going further than others in contemplating measures which would have a wider global impact," he said.

He warned of "regulatory arbitrage", a term used to describe financial services companies moving their operations to countries with the most favourable banking regimes.

"In the UK, a levy on the global balance sheets of UK-headquartered banks effectively places a tax on their emerging growth."

Trading revenues for Global Banking and Markets (GBM), its investment banking arm, were lower in the latest quarter than a year ago, but remained high by historical standards, the bank said, noting seasonal factors and more subdued market sentiment.

GBM made a first-half profit of £3.4bn, its second best half ever.