``For a bank focused on emerging markets, HSBC has its share of first-world headaches. The U.S. sub-prime mortgage nightmare is ending but regulatory bills have created new torment. In the third quarter, HSBC set aside another $800 million for a possible settlement of U.S. money-laundering investigations, and warned that penalties could be "significantly higher" than the total $1.5 billion it has stuffed in the kitty. Meanwhile, compensating UK customers for payment protection insurance they didn't need cost HSBC another $353 million. Again, there's no clear end in sight.''

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