HSBC posted a lower-than-expected annual pre-tax profit for 2015 as a result of slowdown in China and a sharp decline in commodity prices, warning its shareholders it was bracing for a "bumpier" period.
The bank recently revealed it would remain headquartered in London, putting an end to 10 months of speculation during which it was suggested the lender might move its basis to Hong Kong,
In the 12 months to 31 December 2015, the FTSE 100 lender said its profit before tax stood at $18.87bn (£13.22bn, €17bn), higher than the $17.68bn it recorded in the previous year, but comfortably below analysts' expectations for a $21.80bn figure. HSBC said revenue grew 1% year-on-year to $57.76bn thanks to a solid performance across its divisions.
In the final quarter of the year, Europe's biggest lender posted an unexpected pre-tax loss of $858m, on the back of value adjustments on derivatives, legal costs and the disposal of its business in Brazil. The bank added it was also hit by restructuring costs it is undertaking amid its cost savings programme, through which it aims to save between $4.5bn to $5bn.
In 2015, Asia accounted for 83.5% of the bank's global pre-tax profit, an increase from the previous 12 months and further proof that the bank's future growth is strongly linked to the economic situation in the region.
The group added it was on track to deliver a strategic plan focused on further expanding into China, particularly in the densely-populated Pearl River Delta region, although it warned the environment in the world's second largest economy remained challenging.
"China's slower economic growth will undoubtedly contribute to a bumpier financial environment, but it is still expected to be the largest contributor to global growth as its economy transitions to higher added value manufacturing and services and becomes more consumer driven," said group chairman Douglas Flint.