HSBC has reported a 1% rise in profits for 2015, totalling $18.9bn.
Stuart Gulliver, group chief executive, said: “Targeted investment, prudent lending and our diversified, universal banking business model helped us achieve revenue growth in a difficult market environment, whilst also reducing risk-weighted assets. Strict cost management slowed cost growth and our cautious approach to credit helped keep loan impairment charges low.
“We made a good start in implementing the plans that we announced at our Investor Update in June. Delivering against these plans remains our primary focus.”
Douglas Flint, group chairman, added: “We enter 2016 with a clear strategy and with a plan for its implementation already well under way. Our diversified business model and balance sheet strength form the foundation for our future progress, and position HSBC well to deal with today’s challenging economic and financial conditions.
“2015 was marked by some seismic shifts in global economic conditions, most notably the continuation of a sharp decline in commodity and oil prices, in part attributable to growing concerns over China’s slowing economic growth. As a consequence, monetary policy remained accommodative throughout the major developed economies and key currency interest rates remained at historically low levels. Fiscal priorities continued to focus on controlling spending, an emphasis replicated in the private sector as weak revenue growth persisted in many industries.
“Against this backdrop, the Group’s financial performance in 2015 was broadly satisfactory, with reported profit before tax rising 1% to $18.9bn. On the adjusted basis used to measure management and business performance, profit before tax of $20.4bn was 7% lower than that achieved in 2014, driven by higher costs and credit charges.”