Noel Quinn, Group Chief Executive, said:

“These are good results that reflect the return of growth in our main markets and marked progress in the execution of our strategy. We were profitable in every region in the first half of the year, supported by the release of expected credit loss provisions. Our lending pipeline began to translate into business growth in the second quarter and we further strengthened that pipeline during the half. This performance enables us to pay an interim dividend for the first six months of 2021.

I’m pleased with the momentum generated around our growth and transformation plans, with good delivery against all four pillars of our strategy. In particular, we have taken firm steps to define the future of our US and continental Europe businesses, and further enhanced our global Wealth capabilities.

We are focused on executing the growth and transformation plans we announced in February.”

Financial performance (1H21 vs 1H20)

  • Reported profit after tax increased by $5.3bn to $8.4bn and reported profit before tax increased by $6.5bn to $10.8bn. A fall in revenue reflected 2020 interest rate reductions and lower Markets and Securities Services (‘MSS’) revenue relative to a strong 1H20. This was more than offset by releases in our expected credit losses and other credit impairment charges (‘ECL’). Reported profit in 1H20 included an impairment of software intangibles of $1.2bn, mainly in Europe.
  • All regions profitable in 1H21, notably HSBC UK Bank plc reported profit before tax of over $2.1bn in the period. Despite interest rate headwinds, there was continued strength in Asia and a material recovery in profitability in all other regions, reflecting a net release in ECL as the economic outlook improved.
  • Reported revenue down 4% to $25.6bn, primarily reflecting 2020 interest rate reductions and lower MSS revenue in Global Banking and Markets (‘GBM’). These reductions were partly offset by net favourable movements in market impacts in life insurance manufacturing and valuation adjustments in GBM.
  • In 1H21, lending increased by $21.5bn on a reported basis, reflecting growth in Wealth and Personal Banking (‘WPB’) and Commercial Banking (‘CMB’). Deposits grew by $26.3bn on a reported basis, with increases in all global businesses.
  • Net interest margin (‘NIM’) of 1.21% in 1H21, down 22 basis points (‘bps’) from 1H20. NIM in 2Q21 of 1.20% remained stable compared with 1Q21.
  • Reported ECL were a net release of $0.7bn, compared with a $6.9bn charge in 1H20. The net release in 1H21 primarily reflected an improvement in the economic outlook since 2020. The reduction also reflected low levels of stage 3 charges in 1H21, as well as the non-recurrence of a large charge in 1H20 related to a corporate exposure in Singapore.
  • Reported and adjusted operating expenses increased 3%, primarily due to a higher performance-related pay accrual as profitability improved, as well as continued investment, partly offset by the impact of our cost-saving initiatives.
  • Return on average tangible equity (‘RoTE‘) (annualised) of 9.4%, up 5.6 percentage points compared with 1H20.
  • Common equity tier 1 (‘CET1’) ratio of 15.6%, down 0.3 percentage points from 31 December 2020, reflecting an increase in RWAs from lending growth and a decrease in CET1 capital including the impact of foreseeable dividends.
  • The Board has announced an interim dividend for 1H21 of $0.07 per ordinary share, to be paid in cash with no scrip alternative.

Financial performance (2Q21 vs 2Q20)

  • Reported profit after tax up $3.2bn to $3.9bn and reported profit before tax up $4.0bn to $5.1bn. Reported revenue was down 4%, mainly due to lower revenue in MSS, as well as the impact of lower interest rates. This was more than offset by net releases in reported ECL and lower reported operating expenses.

Outlook for 2021

  • The execution of our strategy continues at pace, including the announcement of transactions in relation to our retail operations in France and mass market retail operations in the US.
  • Despite continued revenue headwinds, notably in fixed income markets relative to strong comparative periods, as well as low interest rates and Covid-19 impacts, there are emerging signs of unsecured personal lending and commercial lending growth. We expect mid-single-digit lending growth for the full year, which is expected to translate into low-single-digit RWA growth as we progress with our RWA reduction actions.
  • Given current consensus economics and default experience, ECL charges for 2021 are expected to be materially lower than our medium-term range of 30bps to 40bps of average loans and possibly a net release for the year. Uncertainty remains as countries emerge from the pandemic at different speeds, government support measures unwind and new virus strains test the efficacy of vaccination programmes. To reflect this uncertainty, at 30 June 2021 around $2.4bn remained of the stage 1 and stage 2 ECL allowance uplift we made during 2020.
  • Our cost reduction programme remains on track. We expect adjusted operating expenses for 2021 to be broadly in line with 2020, excluding the benefit from a reduced bank levy. This remains subject to final decisions on performance-related pay, which will primarily reflect the performance of the Group.
  • The Group maintains a strong capital position and is well placed to fund growth and step up capital returns. Reflecting the current improved economic outlook and operating environment in many of our markets, we now expect to move to within our target dividend payout ratio range of 40% to 55% of reported earnings per ordinary share in 2021.

For further information contact:

Investor Relations

UK – Richard O'Connor
Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7991 6590

Hong Kong – Mark Phin
Telephone: +852 2822 4908

Media Relations

UK – Heidi Ashley
Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7992 2045

Hong Kong – Jessica Lee
Telephone: +852 2822 1268

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