Capital comes first, but HSBC promises fatter dividends


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HSBC promised dividends rather than deals at an investor day yesterday. The chief executive, Stuart Gulliver, told investors that when the bank could be certain it had sufficient capital to meet new regulations, it would start to raise its dividend.

"Previously we would have gone out and done 10 acquisitions a year," said Mr Gulliver. "We're not going to do that." HSBC has in fact been shedding businesses, announcing 28 disposals under Mr Gulliver, which he said could release up to $55bn (£35bn) of risk-weighted assets to firm up the bank's finances. About 15,000 employees have gone, although many of them transferred to new owners.

Mr Gulliver also said HSBC had achieved $2bn of cost savings on an annualised basis. He said this had been verified by KPMG: "We're not just making this up."

HSBC expects to be at the top of its $2.5bn to $3.5bn cost-savings target by the end of 2013.