HSBC 'deeply regrets' conduct and compliance failures
HSBC apologised and said it deeply regretted past conduct and compliance failures at its Swiss private bank as it reported a 17pc drop in pre-tax profit this morning.
Europe's biggest bank said recent disclosures about past practices and behaviour at its Swiss private bank - where it has been accused of helping clients dodge taxes - reminded it of "how much there still is to do" at the bank.
"We deeply regret and apologise for the conduct and compliance failures highlighted which were in contravention of our own policies as well as expectations of us," the bank said.
HSBC reported a pretax profit of $18.7bn for 2014, down from $22.6bn the year before and below the average analyst forecast of $21bn, after costs rose more than expected and its investment bank had a grim fourth quarter.
Underlying operating expenses were $37.9bn in 2014, up 6.1 percent from the year before, showing the struggle chief executive Stuart Gulliver is having to lower costs in the face of tougher regulation and the need for more compliance staff. That continues to depress returns.
HSBC's annual report also released on Monday showed Gulliver was paid £7.6m for 2014, down from £8m in 2013 but still likely to be one of the highest pay packets for a European bank executive.