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LONDON, Aug 4 (Reuters) - HSBC said it was facing unprecedented demands on its staff and operations from regulatory reforms as it reported a 12 percent drop in profits in the first half of the year.
Europe's biggest bank said on Monday pretax profits in the six months to the end of June were $12.3 billion, down from $14.1 billion a year earlier and just below an average forecast of $12.5 billion from 15 analysts polled by the company.
The fall was mainly due to a weak first three months of the year, when profits fell 20 percent from a year ago when the bank's revenues were boosted by asset sales.
"The demands now being placed on the human capital of the firm and on our operational and systems capabilities are unprecedented. The cumulative workload arising from a regulatory reform programme that is unfortunately increasingly fragmented, often extra-territorial, still evolving and still adding definition is hugely consumptive of resources that would otherwise be customer facing," the bank said. (Reporting by Steve Slater; Editing by Matt Scuffham)