HSBC doubled the annual revenue boost expected from its turnaround plan to $2 billion, as Europe's biggest bank picks 22 markets to drive its growth and eyes more cost cutting to cope with new regulations in the wake of the financial crisis.
Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver said on Thursday that, one year into a three-year recovery plan, HSBC was on target to meet profitability and cost savings targets.
Gulliver said his biggest external worry "is absolutely how the euro zone plays out and whether Greece stays in, whether firewalls are high enough to protect Spain and, frankly, whether markets take things into their own hands before June 17," when Greece holds new elections.
Gulliver wants to streamline HSBC and focus more on its fast-growing Asian markets.
It faces regulatory pressure to reduce its risks and has conceded it has more work to do to revive its lagging European and U.S. businesses.
"Investors have been skeptical about our ability to get our hands around HSBC. The skepticism was about anybody's ability to move such a large firm and change its direction," Gulliver told reporters before a presentation to analysts.
"At the year one report card we can evidence that on things we can control we are demonstrating significant traction. We are delivering with good momentum given a difficult backdrop."
Analysts said the update was reassuring, but think it will be a challenge hitting cost targets.
"HSBC should come out and be honest about it. In reality, there was a force majeure in Europe blowing up, and they will need more than three years to meet their targets," said Mizuho Securities analyst Jim Antos in Hong Kong.