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HSBC remains quiet on advice plans as profits slide 62%

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HSBC has reported a $7.1bn (£5.7bn) profit for 2016 as one-off costs and multibillion-dollar writedowns caused a 62 per cent hit to its bottom line.

Thomson Reuters’ analyst data had expected the bank to report profits of twice that figure. However, $3.2bn was knocked off the goodwill of the bank’s private banking unit in Europe, and HSBC’s main markets of Hong Kong and the UK underperformed.

HSBC has bought back another $1bn of its shares, and is looking for portfolio acquisitions in the asset management space, according to chief executive Stuart Gulliver.

Advice advancing?

In its results announcement, the bank said it had “enhanced our investment advice processes and introduced tools and guidelines to make all our customer communication clear and easy to understand”.

The accounts did not contain any further reference to the bank’s advice plans, however.

In January last year, HSBC said it was looking to launch an investment advice arm that would cater for individuals with less than £50,000 to invest, adding to the retirement advice service it launched in 2015.

The face-to-face simplified advice service could eventually serve customers with just £15,000, the bank added in April, as it began to trial mortgage advice videos in 40 of its UK branches.

HSBC’s Premier Financial Advice Service currently offers clients access to a financial adviser if they have more than £50,000 to invest.

The restricted offering picks from “a limited range of products from a limited number of carefully selected companies, including HSBC”, according to the bank’s literature.

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