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[LONDON] HSBC Holdings set aside US$378 million to pay a potential fine from the UK regulator for alleged manipulation of currency markets, as Europe's biggest bank reported a 12 per cent fall in underlying earnings after costs rose.
HSBC on Monday reported an underlying pretax profit of US$4.4 billion, down 12 per cent from a year ago, as operating expenses rose 6 per cent, which the bank blamed on increases in risk, compliance and related costs.
The bank's US$378 million provision is for a possible settlement with Britain's Financial Conduct Authority, which HSBC said had proposed a resolution of its foreign exchange investigation. HSBC is one of six banks in talks with UK regulators to pay about 1.5 billion pounds in a group settlement over the alleged rigging of currency, sources have said.