HSBC sees annual profit slump by 33%

HSBC has said its profits for 2019 fell by 33%, mainly due to its investment and commercial banking operations in Europe.

The bank, which makes the bulk of its revenue in Asia, reported annual profit before tax of $13.35bn (£10.3bn).

The results come as an announcement on strategy is being made by interim chief executive Noel Quinn.

HSBC currently operates in more than 50 countries across North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

The bank said the drop in profits was due to $7.3bn in write-offs related to its global banking and markets and commercial banking business units in Europe.

The strategy overhaul comes as economic growth is slowing in HSBC’s major markets. It is also facing the impact of the coronavirus, Britain’s protracted withdrawal from the European Union and historically low interest rates around the world. It will be the UK-based bank’s third overhaul in a decade as it attempts to lift its profits.

Asia accounts for around half of HSBC’s revenue and 90% of profits.

The division, which includes HSBC’s investment bank, has continued to do less well than its commercial and retail banking businesses.

Mr Quinn, the 57-year-old HSBC veteran, was appointed interim chief executive in August last year following the ousting of John Flint.