Wednesday 29 June 2016 12:01 am

UK slides down world ranking of banks, with only HSBC within the top 10 for core capital

The gloss has come off the UK's banking sector a little bit today, as research revealed that the country's banks had performed poorly compared with their overseas counterparts.

The UK ranked only seventh in a league table compiled by trade magazine The Banker of countries by total pre-tax profits, after banks' combined profits dipped by 22 per cent year-on-year. 

Meanwhile, HSBC, which confirmed that it was keeping its headquarters in London earlier this year, was the only UK bank to rank within the top 10 of The Bankers' Top 1,000 banks in the world, with tier one capital of $153.3bn (£114.9bn). 

However, even HSBC's ninth place position represents a steep fall from the second place slot it held back in 2006. In the earlier ranking, Royal Bank of Scotland also held a place in the top 10, coming in at number seven.

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Read more: European banking sector rocked by Brexit vote

In addition, according to the 2006 research, UK banks contributed 10 per cent of the world's banking profits, but the 2016 report found UK banks contributed just 2.6 per cent. 

"The trend since the financial crisis has been the loss of stature of the UK banks," Brian Caplen, editor of The Banker, told City A.M. "They did [used to] really outperform. Before the financial crisis, we had a banking sector that was obviously very large compared to the size of our economy because it was an international banking sector.

"That was good in one way, bad in another way. It was bad because when things went wrong, it was a problem. But now, if you switch on 10 years later, what the banks have been doing is pulling back from a lot of businesses."

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Read more: How big banks are reacting to Brexit: Thousands of UK jobs feared at risk

Caplen added that the changing business environment had forced many of the big players to rethink their business plan. "Even HSBC has taken a very long, hard look at things and decided it doesn't want to be in certain markets, like Brazil…and it's only going to focus on markets where it's big enough to make a difference."

Challenger banks, however, had a reason to celebrate, with both Metro and Sainsbury's Bank breaking into the top 1,000.

French banks managed to outpace their UK counterparts, with a 30 per cent boost to their combined profits.

However, UK bankers can take heart that they are not the only ones in Europe struggling – profits at German banks plummeted 63 per cent, which was the largest drop among European countries and the fifth largest drop overall. 

Read more: HSBC to restructure global banking division in bid to cut costs

China performed well on the rankings, securing four out of the five top slots. ICBC was the top performing bank, with tier one capital of $274.4bn. The US banks also ranked well, nabbing four places in the top 10.