HSBC set for $20bn profit

Marion Dakers
HSBC is due to report its highest profit since before the financial crisis this morning, with analysts predicting earnings of more than $20bn (£12.4bn).

But all eyes will be on HSBC’s staff pay-outs, thanks to strong hints from the bank that it will unveil aggregate salaries and bonuses for several hundred of its top employees, pre-empting FSA rules on transparency.

A bonus pool of more than $2bn is expected, following recent comments from chairman Douglas Flint in front of the Treasury Select Committee.

Speculation has also been rife over the expected multi-million pound bonus of new chief executive Stuart Gulliver, who took over the top spot at the start of the year.

The bank’s bumper results, up from $7.1bn in 2009 and close to a record $24.2bn seen in 2007, are likely to be buoyed by a reduction in bad debt losses, particularly from its troubled lender Household International.

Strong growth in Asia is expected to continue, with analysts forecasting an improvement in HSBC’s mortgage and commercial loans books.

However, analysts at Deutsche Bank said HSBC might not convert the gains into a dividend hike, given the previous lack of guidance on the bank’s Basel III provisions.