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Paul J. Davies

HSBC's Promises Won’t Satisfy Ping An for Long

Higher dividends and better returns are a good start, but dissident shareholders will soon ask for more.

Noel Quinn, HSBC CEO

Noel Quinn, HSBC CEO

Photographer: Wei Leng Tay/Bloomberg

HSBC Holdings Plc is hoping to buy off dissenting investors with a boost to dividends and a forecast for higher returns. The promises made at Monday’s half-year results sent the bank’s stock sharply higher, but the shareholders agitating for big changes are likely to want more — and soon. 

The London- and Hong Kong-based bank is facing breakup calls driven by its largest shareholder, Ping An Insurance Group of China, with the aim of freeing the faster-growing Asian businesses from HSBC’s more heavily taxed and regulated Western parts.