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HSBC blames ‘challenging year’ as profit falls 17%


HSBC has said 2014 was a “challenging year” after reporting a 17% drop in profit to $18.7bn (£12.2bn).

The bank blamed the negative effect of fines and settlements and UK customer redress for the sharp drop.

The results follow allegations, which emerged earlier this month, that HSBC had helped people evade UK tax using hidden HSBC accounts in Geneva.

HSBC confirmed on Sunday that its chief executive Stuart Gulliver uses a Swiss bank account to hold his bonuses.

On Monday, HSBC reiterated its recent apology for the conduct of its Swiss private bank, saying the historical practices and behaviour were “unacceptable”.

“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,” it said.

The bank said restoration of trust in the industry “remains a significant challenge as further misdeeds are uncovered but it is a challenge we must meet successfully”.

“When commentators extrapolate instances of control failure or individual misconduct to question the culture of the firm, it strikes painfully at the heart of our identity,” it added.

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