FILE PHOTO: HSBC’s logo is seen on its headquarters in Hong Kong, China August 4, 2020. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu
LONDON (Reuters) – HSBC investors should vote against a resolution by its biggest shareholder Ping An, calling on the bank to consider strategic options including a spinoff of its Asia business, shareholder advisory group ISS said.
The proposal by Ping An, over which the bank and the Chinese insurer have been arguing since last November, “lacks detailed rationale”, ISS said in a note to investors seen by Reuters.
ISS, which advises shareholders on how to wield their proxy votes at companies’ investor meetings, became the second major such group to side with HSBC on the issue, after Glass Lewis on Tuesday likewise said the Ping An-backed plan lacked merit.
The war of words between HSBC and Ping An escalated last week ahead of the bank’s annual general meeting on May 5, at which shareholders will vote on proposals including the strategic review and whether the bank should be forced to boost dividends.
Ping An on Friday accused the bank of not giving its strategic ideas a sufficient hearing. HSBC has said it had discussed the plans on around 20 occasions, but had consistently said they would destroy shareholder value and would be too costly to implement.