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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.

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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.