HSBC shareholders in contact with Knight Vinke

12 September 2007

Some of HSBC's top 20 investors have contacted Knight Vinke, the small activist investor, after concerns were raised about the managing of Britain's biggest bank.

Since the US investor, which is thought to own about 0.4 per cent in HSBC, said that it wanted to hold talks with investors regarding the "future direction and governance" of the group, about ten investors have contacted them.

But the US investment firm would not disclose whether the contact had been in support of their views or otherwise.

On September 4th Knight Vinke sent a letter to HSBC saying that it believed it to be undervalued by 50 per cent and that the board of directors lacked ambition.

According to Reuters, it wants the bank to increase its focus on the Asian markets even if it means cutting down on business in Europe and North America, it also wants the bank to buy out the shareholders in Hang Seng Bank, and for the chairman to take a non-executive role.

HSBC has said that it believes in its strategy but will always listen to the views of its shareholders.

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