Break-up threat forces HSBC to restart dividend payouts to pre-pandemic levels

He added: “We understand and appreciate the importance of dividends to all of our shareholders.” HSBC is trying to head off calls from China’s Ping An Insurance Group – which owns around 9.2 percent of shares – to offload its burgeoning Asian arm.

The idea has won support from some retail investors in Hong Kong who were disgruntled with dual-listed HSBC’s decision to cancel its dividend payment in 2020.

When it was restored in July 2021 it was half the rate of 2018.

Mr Quinn said yesterday: “Look at the half-year results, and you’ll see the value of the current strategy.”

HSBC has reported that profits for the six months to the end of June fell 15 per cent to £7.5billion.

It joined rivals in setting aside cash to cover potential loan losses, in its case just over £902million.

The move partly reflected “heightened economic uncertainty and inflation” in the UK and globally. But the announced profit was better than analysts were expecting.

HSBC, which also revealed a £1,500 cost-of-living bonus for low-paid staff, brings to a close a wave of bank results.

Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor, said: “It brought the curtain down on the banks’ reporting season in mixed fashion, with a stronger second quarter rescuing the numbers.”

But Sophie Lund-Yates, lead equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, saw “some warning signs” in the results.

She said the provision for potential credit losses and impairments had “more than undone the helping hand from rising interest rates on the bottom line.”

She warned: “This gives activist shareholders even more clout to pressure the business to find new, potentially radical, ways to propel growth.”

Profits at HSBC’s UK ring-fenced banks were broadly flat in the quarter to the end of June, at £900million.


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