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HSBC foils plan by major investor to break up bank

May 08, 2023

HSBC foils plan by major investor to break up bank
HSBC has fought off an attempt by its biggest shareholder to break up the bank during a frequently tense annual general meeting.

Chinese insurer Ping An has been trying for more than a year to split the bank.

On Friday it failed to gain the backing of any other major shareholder as investors voted to reject the proposal.

HSBC chairman Mark Tucker said the result “draws a line” under a long-running debate about the bank’s structure.

Despite being headquartered in London, the large majority of HSBC’s profits are made in Asia.

Ping An, which holds an 8% stake in HSBC, wants the lender to separate out its Asian business.

It argues that the bank’s profitable Asia operations are subsidising other parts of the bank that are not performing as strongly. Splitting HSBC would also set it free from the requirements of UK regulators.

Ping An and Ken Lui, an individual Hong Kong-based shareholder in HSBC, needed to secure 75% of all votes cast at the AGM to force through the split.

They failed to get those numbers, with no other major institutional investor backing the plan.

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