HSBC's annual profits tumble
HSBC are, as you're more than aware, in the middle of a rather large tax avoidance scandal. Even though they said 'sorry', it hasn't stopped a 17% fall in their annual profits.
Of course, the bank saw profits fall to £12.14bn, which is still a stupefying amount of money, but we can still laugh at them. They reckon that this drop reflects "lower business disposal and reclassification gains and the negative effect, on both revenue and costs, of significant items including fines, settlements, UK customer redress and associated provisions".
Did you catch all that? In English, what they're saying is that a number of scandals is costing them money, including the mis-selling of payment protection insurance (PPI). Basically, they're sorting out their own mess as well as watching their share price falling by more than 5%.
And what's even more ridiculous about all this? This news follows reports that HSBC's chief executive Stuart Gulliver has himself enjoyed a Swiss bank account and the benefits that brings you. While he's promising to reform the bank in the wake of all manner of allegations, this is rather embarrassing for him. It is worth pointing out, legally, that Gulliver denies doing anything wrong.
He said: "2014 was a challenging year in which we continued to work hard to improve business performance while managing the impact of a higher operating cost base. Profits disappointed, although a tough fourth quarter masked some of the progress made over the preceding three quarters."
"Many of the challenging aspects of the fourth-quarter results were common to the industry as a whole."