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HSBC targeted by activist investor

Knight Vinke Asset Management has set its sights on HSBC, with plans to force a shake-up in the British bank.

The US fund management firm wrote to the HSBC board earlier in the week and wants to discuss the future of the bank and how it is organised and run.

Knight Vinke told the Guardian that the letter to the board had requested "a fundamental review of the group's strategy in consultation with shareholders".

It also stated that this review would include issues relating to how the bank was governed.

Knight Vinke targeted Shell three years ago and forced it to change it dual British and Dutch governing structure and the activist investment group is asking shareholders to contact them regarding the issues.

The company is believed to have less than a one per cent share in Britain's largest bank, but following criticism of HSBC from investors it might be possible for a share group to gain support.

Paul Measday, from Cazenove told the newspaper it would be possible for them to win support, but he added that there had been a recent improvement in HSBC's performance.