By Margot Patrick 

HSBC Holdings PLC dropped one of its main financial targets for 2020 and said it would embark on a new round of restructuring as tougher market conditions hit its third-quarter earnings.

Net profit fell 24% in the quarter, to $2.97 billion, the bank said Monday. A FactSet poll of analysts had tipped a net profit of $3.96 billion for the quarter.

Noel Quinn, who has been interim chief executive since August, said Monday that the bank needs to simplify its structure further and revamp its operations in the U.K., Europe and the U.S. That would mean pulling back in commercial banking and investment banking in the U.K. and Europe and investing more in higher-growth areas such as Asia, the Middle East, Mexico and Canada, he told The Wall Street Journal on Monday.

The Journal previously reported that the bank is already acting on plans to sell its large French retail business.

HSBC shares fell 4% in European trading as analysts said the plans added new risks around timing and execution.

Mr. Quinn said he has dropped the bank's 2020 target to make an at least 11% return on tangible equity, and said new financial targets will be set at full-year results in February, if not sooner.

As a result, HSBC said it expects to take significant charges in the fourth quarter and beyond, including the possible impairment of goodwill and severance costs for departing staff.

Mr. Quinn didn't say how many of the bank's 238,000 jobs might go, but noted that HSBC continues to hire staff in Hong Kong and mainland China.

Mr. Quinn replaced former CEO John Flint after the bank's board decided it needed a leadership change to address worsening economic conditions. The bank's board is undertaking a global headhunt for a new CEO and Mr. Quinn said Monday that he hopes to take the job permanently.

The latest rejig comes after HSBC recently completed a yearslong restructuring that saw it exit around 20 countries and dozens of businesses. Mr. Quinn said the earlier reorganization was more of a "risk management" program, while the current plans would help free up capital to invest in technology and adapt quickly to changes in the bank's markets.

--Yifan Wang contributed to this article.

Write to Margot Patrick at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 28, 2019 08:29 ET (12:29 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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