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HSBC said on Thursday that pre-tax profit fell 19 percent to US$4.96 billion in the first three months of the year.
The bank said the drop in reported profit was down to a change in the accounting of the fair value of its debt, while the results from a year ago included proceeds from its Brazil business, which was sold in July 2016.
It also posted a 19.5 percent drop in year-on-year net profit to $3.13 billion from $3.89 billion in the same period last year.
However, it said adjusted pre-tax profit, which excludes one-time items, rose to $5.94 billion from $5.3 billion a year earlier, with group chief executive Stuart Gulliver calling it a "good set of results".
Gulliver said the figure was boosted by a $1 billion share buy-back as well as progress on cost-saving.
That figure beat estimates of $5.3 billion in a survey by Bloomberg News.
The results are the first since the banking giant announced the appointment of a new chairman in March as part of a management overhaul that will also see it choose a new chief executive, following a massive drop in profits in 2016.
British businessman Mark Tucker, currently group chief executive and president of insurance group AIA, will take over from Douglas Flint in October.
He will lead the hunt for a new CEO to replace Gulliver who is set to retire in 2018.