Hang Seng Bank may not report quarterly, even if parent does
Hang Seng Bank, which currently reports only interim and annual results, said yesterday it may not report quarterly earnings even if its parent, HSBC, is likely to do so from the second half this year.
'As a subsidiary of HSBC, Hang Seng Bank will prepare figures and related information needed for our parent company every quarter, if it is going to report results every three months,' said Margaret Leung Ko May-yee, its vice-chairman and chief executive. 'But Hang Seng Bank itself has not made a final decision on this issue.'
Andrew Leung Wing-lok, chief financial officer of Hang Seng Bank, said the lender's board of directors would need to consider the related costs and other technical matters before it could decide if it should report results every quarter.
The Hong Kong stock market allows companies to report results every six months. But HSBC, listed in both London and Hong Kong, is considering adopting quarterly reporting as early as the second half of this year.
The debate over quarterly reporting in the city has lasted for more than a decade. When the stock exchange set up the Growth Enterprise Market in 1999, it introduced quarterly reporting for second-board companies.
The stock exchange has conducted two rounds of consultation on introducing quarterly reporting for main-board companies but faced strong opposition from blue chips such as HSBC, Sun Hung Kai Properties and many other companies, which said it would add to costs and would lead executives to chase short-term profits.
HSBC previously opposed the move, but chief executive Stuart Gulliver said at a media briefing when it announced its results on Monday that it may begin reporting quarterly in the second half of this year.
Hang Seng's Leung said she expected loan growth would slow slightly this year after strong growth in loan demand last year.
She said the bank would continue to expand its yuan business and that it would launch a 'maxi-interest product' as well as yuan auto-pay services.
Leung said Hang Seng Bank had no immediate plans to raise capital, even though it expected the Monetary Authority to issue new capital requirements for banks this year under the Basel III international regulations, which the city's banks must comply with by 2013. Standard Chartered had a rights issue late last year to prepare for the new Basel III capital requirements.
'Unless there is some surprising requirement to be announced, we do not anticipate Hang Seng would have any need to raise capital,' said Leung. 'Our capital has been higher than the regulatory requirement.'