HSBC profit before tax fell 20% in the first quarter to $6.78 billion (£3.99 billion) on lower wealth revenue and reduced activity across Asia, the company’s biggest market.
Lower levels of bond business have driven profits lower across the investment banking industry although HSBC also pointed to a series of one-off and ongoing hurdles.
Profits in 2013 were also bolstered by a series of disposals as the company sought to cut overheads and refocus on reduced complexity following a number of money-laundering scandals.
‘In our principal retail banking and wealth management business, revenues were impacted by changes in incentive plans and product pricing,’ said HSBC chief executive Stuart Gulliver.
Across the global retail banking and wealth management business revenue fell $300 million reflecting lower fee income. The company wrote off $279 million in goodwill previously recognised within its Monaco private banking office.
‘In global private banking, revenue was US$0.1bn lower, reflecting a managed reduction in client assets as we continued to reposition the business, which led to a reduction in fee and trading income,’ the company said in a statement.
‘We attracted positive net new money in areas that we have targeted for growth, including our home and priority markets and the high net worth client segment.’
At 10.50am shares in HSBC were 1.2% lower at 596p.