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HSBC profit rises 32% in third quarter, exceeding estimates

[LONDON] HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe's largest bank, reported a bigger-than-expected jump in third-quarter profit as costs related to fines and legal settlements declined.

Pretax profit jumped to US$6.1 billion from US$4.6 billion a year earlier, the London-based lender said in a statement on Monday. That was more than the $5.2 billion average estimate of 14 analysts compiled by the bank.

Chief Executive Officer Stuart Gulliver, 56, unveiled a three-year plan in June to pare back HSBC's sprawling global network, shut money-losing businesses and eliminate as many as 25,000 jobs after a surge in compliance costs. The third-quarter result benefited from a US$1.4 billion decline from a year earlier in fines, settlements and redress for UK customers.

The bank, which already makes more than two-thirds of its earnings in Asia, is assessing whether to move its headquarters away from London.

In Monday's statement, the lender said that "a considerable amount of work" remains for deciding on its domicile and a decision may not come this year. The bank may provide an update on the deliberations "if necessary" when it publishes its full- year results in February, it said.

HSBC cut operating expenses for the quarter by 19 per cent from a year earlier to US$9 billion, it said.