- The pivot to Asian markets is gathering momentum
- Litigation risk factors still in evidence
In a consistent theme for the bank reporting season, HSBC (HSBA) reported better than expected impairments for the half that flattered the bottom line as capital was released from ring-fenced funds. However, the return of interim dividends, though welcome, was pegged at a disappointingly low level, and left investors with the strong impression that the only group that consistently makes money from HSBC is its army of corporate lawyers. Clearly, management felt the need to mollify the market, by upping the pay-out ratio for dividends in the future to 55 per cent of net income, compared with 40 per cent now.