UK banks scrap dividends on coronavirus fears
LONDON, April 1: Britain's top banks have axed dividend payments after pressure from the regulator, saving their capital as a buffer against expected losses from the economic fallout from the coronavirus.
Barclays (BARC.L), HSBC (HSBA.L), Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L), Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L), Standard Chartered (STAN.L) and the British arm of Spain's Santander (SAN.MC) all halted payouts in a co-ordinated industry response to a request from the Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA) on Tuesday.
The lenders had been due to pay out over 8 billion pounds ($9.93 billion) between them in 2019 dividends, with HSBC the biggest payer at $4.2 billion.
The PRA also asked banks and insurers not to pay senior staff bonuses this year, although none of the banks opted to provide details on how they would comply with this second request.
The British lenders also held off announcing changes to their executive pay policies.
Shares in domestic-focused lenders Lloyds and Barclays shed more than 5per cent each in early trading, while HSBC and Standard Chartered saw their stocks fall 7.7per cent and 6per cent respectively by 0708 GMT.
Hong Kong shares of HSBC (0005.HK) fell as much as 9.9per cent to their lowest since March 2009, while StanChart dropped 7.4per cent in the morning trade on Wednesday. The broader Hong Kong market index .HSI was down 0.4per cent.
The PRA said banks entered the pandemic, which has put Britain into lockdown, with strong capital positions, enough to withstand a severe UK and global recession. -Reuters