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HSBC cuts its legal costs by $1bn to $681m

HSBC’s legal spend has gone down by nearly $1bn (£803m), according to the bank’s 2016 financial report.

Over 2016, the bank saw its costs decrease to $681m (£547m) from $1.65bn (£1.3bn). The spend covers “settlements and provisions in connection with legal matters”.

The bank was involved in a number of legal proceedings in the past year including US mortgage-related investigations, anti-money laundering matters, as well as foreign exchange rate investigations and litigation. The bank has recognised a provision for these various matters of $1.2bn.

There has also been litigation in relation to the Madoff Securities’ fraud case and a securities class action lawsuit involving US company Household International. In June last year, HSBC agreed it would be pay $1.6bn to settle the claims, meaning its legal bill is likely to increase over 2017/18.

Overall the bank announced a 62 per cent fall in pre-tax profits from $18.9bn to $7.1bn.

HSBC added Davis Polk & Wardwell to its global panel for the first time last year with the magic circle retaining their spots on the roster.

Its legal spend shot up over between 2014 and 2016 after settling a number of forex-related litigation matters with US regulators. HSBC was one of five banks to settle the cases, agreeing to pay out $285m.

Its legal team is the largest of the entire FTSE 100, employing 1,109 legal professions according to The Lawyer’s FTSE 100 report.

HSBC has been approached for comment.

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