Belfast Telegraph

HSBC doubles profits to $19bn as figures return to pre-crisis levels

By Clare Weir

Banking giant HSBC revealed its annual profits more than doubled as its results recover to levels not seen since before the financial crisis.

The group posted pre-tax profits of $19bn (£12bn) last year, up from $7.1bn (£4.4bn) in 2009.

Its 2010 haul - the biggest of the UK players - marks a return to pre-crisis profits, coming close to the $24.2bn (£15bn) seen in 2007.

HSBC revealed its highest paid banker, who was not named, was paid between £8.4m and £8.5m for 2010 - more than the chief executive's package.

The bank said the compensation ratio of its Global Banking and Markets (GBM) investment banking division - given as a percentage of revenues - remained unchanged at 23%, despite a 9% drop in the division's profits.

However, HSBC said its GBM global bonus pool was down 10% and added UK bonuses were 15% lower, although it did not provide figures.

New chief executive Stuart Gulliver - former head of the investment bank - was awarded a £5.2m bonus for 2010, which he will take in deferred shares, taking his total package for the year to £6.2m.

The bank's former boss Michael Geoghegan - who stepped down as chief executive on December 31 - picked up a £3.8m bonus and a total package of £5.8m for the year. He will continue to work for the group until he retires on March 31, landing over £1.4m in pay and pension this year.

Despite the hefty rise in profits last year, shares fell 5% as the figure came in shy of the $20bn (£12.3bn) expected.