SINGAPORE (Reuters) -Shares in HSBC Holdings (NYSE:) edged up in Hong Kong trade on Tuesday after its largest shareholder, Chinese insurance giant Ping An, called for a break-up of the London-based bank. [L2N2WR21M]
Sources familiar with the situation said on Friday that Ping An had urged HSBC to look at options including spinning off the Asian business or taking other steps to increase its valuation.
HSBC shares rose 0.5% in early trade, outperforming a 1.1% decline in the local market. The Hong Kong bourse was closed on Monday for a holiday.
HSBC has not commented on Ping An’s involvement but defended its overall strategy in a statement, saying that it believed it had the right strategy and was focused on executing it. [L2N2WR21M]
Ping An said on Saturday it supports all reform proposals from investors that could help with HSBC’s long-term value growth.
HSBC Chief Executive Noel Quinn, who has run the London-headquartered bank for the past two years, is ploughing billions into Asia to drive growth, with a focus on the wealth management business, and has also moved global executives there.
Some analysts have previously also called for HSBC to split its global business, arguing that the bank makes most of its money in Asia and that its global network adds costs without delivering enough benefit.
But this is the first time its biggest shareholder has made such a proposal.