View more on these topics

Stock Picker

End of year results from HSBC rounded off the banks’ reporting season last week. Despite record write-downs, the group still managed a £1.1bn increase in pre-tax profits to £12.2bn, with growth in Asia and emerging markets offseting weaknesses in the US.

The profit share generated by the North American market collapsed from 21.1% to just 0.4%. Despite this massive drop the group intends to stand by its US operations.

Hong Kong and emerging markets now make up close to two-thirds of HSBC’s overall profits. Its tier one capital ratio, a measure of the strength of its balance sheet, remains strong at 9.3% and, unsurprisingly, its dividend to investors has been raised by 11%.

HSBC shares rose strongly following the results but have subsequently been hit by weaknesses in the financial markets.

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee held rates at 5.25% because of inflation fears. Nevertheless, cuts still look likely later this year.

And Prestbury Holdings’ share price fell after news that a management buyout for the firm had failed.

John Goodall is a private client research analyst at stock broker WH Ireland.


5,000 Brokers train with Trigold

Trigold claims nearly 5,000 brokers have used its online interactive training system since it was launched last year. The system features seminars on the sourcing system’s automated valuation model, secured loan, e-trading, insurance and conveyancing facilities.

Sleepy Ed

MS editor Robyn Hall was feeling the worse for wear last week after completing a marathon bout of travelling.

BUDGET 2008: IMLA welcomes Mortgage Working Group

The Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association has welcomed the chancellor’s plan for a working group to focus on mortgage-backed securities.The trade body supports Alistair Darling’s plan to create a Mortgage Working Group to help create a gold standard for UK mortgage-backed securities.But IMLA, which represents many specialist lenders that fund themselves through the wholesale markets, warns […]

Scot Wids closes telephone support service

Scottish Widows Bank closed its telephone support service from 5pm yesterday evening until March 17 in order to catch up on unprecedented volumes of mortgage applications.Scottish Widows says every effort is being made to process applications as quickly as possible whilst maintaining underwriting quality.The progress of each individual mortgage application will be given as soon […]

Trouble ahead - thumbnail

Pensions: trouble ahead?

The pace of change in the pension’s space has been little short of astonishing, and has left thousands of employers struggling to keep their pension policy compliant, and also on the right side of current best practice and governance. Many employers, and indeed many in the pensions industry itself, would like to see a period of no change during the next term of government. This would give all sides a chance to catch up and draw breath. 


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up