Alistair Osborne: Flowing dividends help HSBC’s case

Don’t call it bribery. Apparently that’s not allowed in banking — even if that may be news to some bankers.

But look at this from HSBC boss Noel Quinn: a full-year dividend of 32 cents, or $6.54 billion, and the best for four years; a looming $4 billion payout from the $10.1 billion sale of the Canadian wing; and a share buyback brought forward to May’s first-quarter results. Lob in the return of quarterly dividends and HSBC upping the payout ratio to 50 per cent and isn’t it clear what Quinn’s up to: trying to pacify Ping An, the Chinese insurer that wants a break-up of the bank?

Only Quinn wouldn’t see it like that. Yes, he’s well versed in the demands of his