The logo of the HSBC is seen on its headquarters in Hong Kong, on Nov 16, 2021. (PHOTO / AP)
BIRMINGHAM, England – HSBC is expected on Friday to defeat a proposal by Hong Kong-based investors, backed by its biggest Asian investor Ping An, which calls for the lender to consider spinning off its Asia business.
Investors will vote on the resolutions at the bank's annual general meeting on Friday, but Ping An and its supporters face an uphill battle to secure the 75 percent of votes cast needed to pass the special resolutions.
Those proposed by individual investor Ken Lui and supported by Ping An call on HSBC to boost dividend payouts, and to regularly review strategy including the possibility of carving out the Asia business that generates most of the bank's profit.
HSBC and Ping An have been engaged in an increasingly heated and public spat since last November, when the Chinese insurer first began pressing for HSBC to separate its Asian business from the rest of the bank in a bid to improve returns
HSBC has asked investors to vote against the proposals, saying they would destroy shareholder value, and so far no other big institutional investors have signaled they are in favor.
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On the contrary, Norway's state investment fund, HSBC's 4th biggest investor, has said it will back the bank's board and advisory firms including Glass Lewis and ISS which recommend how investors wield proxy votes, have urged support for the bank.
Lui told CNBC News in an interview broadcast ahead of the meeting that he had emailed all of HSBC's top 50 investors and eight had replied, who he had met either over video calls or in person to discuss his resolutions.
Lui said he was only able to disclose he had met with Ping An and that they were supportive. When he submitted the resolutions he was "very confident" they would pass, Lui added.
READ MORE: HSBC investors hold talks as proxy advisors oppose spinoff
HSBC and Ping An have been engaged in an increasingly heated and public spat since last November, when the Chinese insurer first began pressing for HSBC to separate its Asian business from the rest of the bank in a bid to improve returns.
HSBC tripled its profit in the first quarter as rising interest rates boosted its income, paying its first quarterly dividend since 2019.