Feb. 24 - HSBC has missed market expectation with a 9 percent increase in annual pretax profit. As Sonia Legg reports, Europe's largest bank has also warned of greater volatility in emerging markets.
It's axed 40,000 jobs and got rid of 60 businesses but the new lean HSBC is not as mean as expected. Profits at Europe's largest bank were up 9% to $22.6 billion - most analysts were predicting a 10% rise. That sent the bank's share price down 4%. IG's Alistair McCaig also says there could be some other potential problems ahead. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ALISTAIR MCCAIG, MARKET ANALYST, IG, SAYING: "They have managed to avoid many of the issue that many of the other global banks have had with regard to fiscal penalties from oversight committees and regulatory bodies but you do fear that there are question marks over some of the funds that HSBC have under their management. We can think back Mexico way as far as further questions that need to be resolved and you wonder if there are any skeletons yet to be shown." A failure to prevent the laundering of drug money was the problem in Mexico. And US regulators recently warned it still finds weaknesses in the way HSBC tries to prevent laundering. The bank also gets more than half of its profits from Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Latin America - and among them are emerging markets hit by the withdrawal of US stimulus. But Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver is optimistic about the longer term prospects for those regions. He's also increased the bank's staff bonus pool by 6% to almost $4 billion. That's despite pressure on banks to rein in big payments. Gulliver's own salary rose by half a million last year to $8 million. He will be expected to justify it by replacing the income lost from the sale of U.S. businesses and a stake in a Chinese insurer. And doing that at a time when Asia is showing signs of slowing down could be a challenge.