Banking giant HSBC more than doubled pre-tax profit to $17.2 billion in 2017, it announced Tuesday, after a recovery drive to streamline its business and slash costs.
Adjusted pre-tax profit also rose 11 percent year-on-year to $21 billion as revenue growth outweighed operating expenses, the bank said. 
The results came as new chief executive John Flint takes over from Stuart Gulliver, who steps down following seven years at the helm. 
Flint, who was previously head of retail banking and wealth management at HSBC, has said he wants to accelerate the pace of change at the bank.
The Asia-focused firm has laid off tens of thousands of staff since 2015 as part of a wide-ranging overhaul that also saw it sell off its Brazil operations.
The bank’s strategy of expanding business in the Pearl River Delta, an area of southern China including major cities such as Hong Kong and Guangzhou, has also boosted performance.
Gulliver said HSBC had concluded the transformation programme that it started in 2015 and described it as ‘simpler, stronger, and more secure’ than it had been when he became chief executive.
But chairman Mark Tucker warned that while the bank was optimistic about the global economy in 2018, rising international tensions and the threat of protectionism could be disruptive. 
Tuesday’s surge in reported pre-tax profit was a 141 percent rise on the $7.1 billion it posted in 2016.
Net profit stood at $9.7 billion in 2017, up from $1.3 billion year-on-year.
Analysts described it as a turning point for HSBC, which has been hit by a string of financial scandals in recent years. 
‘In the past seven years it’s not (been) a good time for not only the HSBC management but also for their investors as well,’ said Dickie Wong of Kingston Securities Limited.
‘We have been waiting for so long for the comeback of HSBC and I do really think that they are in better shape than other international banks,’ he said, citing dividend yields and cost efficiency as among its strengths. 
In December, US authorities lifted the threat of prosecution against HSBC, five years after it admitted to widespread money laundering and sanctions violations.
In a landmark case, the bank agreed to pay $1.9 billion in fines in 2012, after admitting it knowingly moved hundreds of millions of dollars for Mexican drug cartels and illegally served clients in Iran, Myanmar, Libya, Sudan and Cuba in violation of US sanctions.
Under the terms of the settlement, federal prosecutors agreed to drop all charges after five years if the bank paid the fine, took remedial action and avoided committing new violations.
In his statement Tuesday, Gulliver said the bank had strengthened its compliance systems and ability to manage crime risk.
He described the lifting of the threat of prosecution by the US as an ‘important milestone’.
‘Combating financial crime is a never-ending exercise and will be a constant focus for the group’s management,’ Gulliver added.