SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
Report of Foreign Private Issuer
Pursuant to Rule 13a - 16 or 15d - 16 of
the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
month of May
HSBC Holdings plc
Floor, 8 Canada Square, London E14 5HQ, England
by check mark whether the registrant files or will file annual
reports under cover of Form 20-F or Form 40-F).
20-F X Form 40-F
by check mark whether the registrant by furnishing the information
contained in this Form is also thereby furnishing the information
to the Commission pursuant to Rule 12g3-2(b) under the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934).
"Yes" is marked, indicate below the file number assigned to the
registrant in connection with Rule 12g3-2(b): 82-
28 May 2021
HSBC HOLDINGS PLC - AGM STATEMENTS
Following the Annual General Meeting of HSBC Holdings plc, held at
Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, UK today, the following statements
were issued by Group Chairman, Mark Tucker and Group Chief
Executive, Noel Quinn.
Group Chairman's Statement:
The last 15 months have been unlike any other in living
We are clearly still in difficult and challenging times, with the
news from India and other countries demonstrating that Covid-19
continues to pose a very real and very serious threat.
I would like to send my best wishes to all those who have dealt
with illness themselves or within their families - and my sincere
and heartfelt condolences to all those who have lost loved ones,
friends and colleagues.
The surge in cases in India is a reminder that the path ahead
remains demanding, and our thoughts are with our colleagues,
customers and communities across the country.
Across the globe, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to the doctors
and nurses, social care professionals, emergency workers and other
key workers who continue to fight the virus and maintain vital
Amongst them I include all those HSBC colleagues who have provided
our customers with the support they've needed during the crisis and
helped to maintain business continuity.
They have demonstrated incredible professionalism, dedication and
energy, all the while managing their own, at times extremely
difficult, situations at home.
On behalf of the Board, I would like to express my very deepest
thanks to each of them for the exceptional way that they have
responded to these most challenging of circumstances.
Against this backdrop, HSBC has demonstrated a resilient
Noel will expand on this, but I would like to say that we were very
pleased to restart the dividend at the earliest
In view of our strong capital, funding and liquidity positions, the
Board announced in February an interim dividend for 2020 of 15
cents per ordinary share.
The global economic outlook remains uncertain, with inflation a
major concern across financial markets.
As a result of vaccination rollouts in many parts of the world, the
expected reopening of more sectors of the economy and the
substantial financial support available, we expect global GDP to
grow by 5.5% in 2021.
We expect every economy in which we operate to see a rebound in GDP
growth this year, led by the US and China. We also recently revised
up our forecast for the UK.
Generally speaking, there is a significant pent-up demand, with
large amounts of household savings available to be spent, and firms
and investors looking for opportunities to deploy accumulated
There is clear evidence that world trade growth is already
However, growth rates are likely to remain erratic, with big
variations between and within economies.
While some economies are recovering strongly, others are still
grappling with renewed spikes in infection levels.
Much depends on access to effective vaccines and the pace of their
rollout, which will determine how quickly activity can normalise.
The scale and mix of policy stimulus is a further
There are also structural challenges, with interest rates likely to
remain low for some time, some industries having had to change
permanently to survive the crisis, and a possibility that some
countries will use the aftermath of the crisis for a return to
We will need to monitor all these situations very
As you would expect, we remain acutely aware of the impact that
geopolitics is having on our business and on our
The geopolitical environment has been - and will continue to be -
challenging for a global bank such as ours.
Our approach has been to handle any situations with care,
discipline and an unwavering commitment to the central purpose for
which HSBC was founded in 1865 - to connect East and
Over the course of the last 156 years we have seen many good times
and bad. And we are proud of the contribution we have made by
working with many countries to help businesses and economies the
world over to thrive and prosper.
Now more than ever, I believe the world needs a global bank like
HSBC that brings together future growth opportunities - wherever
they may be - with savers, investors and firms who want to really
make the most of them.
We can connect an investor in London with a battery manufacturer in
Shenzhen, a saver in Singapore with a solar energy producer in
Saudi Arabia, an exporter in the Philippines with consumer demand
While being fully aware of politics, we need to stay with what we
do best, which as our purpose says is: 'opening up a world of
Noel will share his perspective on how our purpose connects to our
strategy in a moment.
As we look at how we can open up a world of opportunity, we must
first recognise that the pandemic is far from over.
There is a risk of more new variants emerging, as well as the
social and economic challenges that I have already
Nevertheless, over the second half of the year we expect the
delivery of vaccines to Asia and elsewhere to rise sharply. This
makes it possible for us to think about what the future will look
There are some positive changes underway and the onus is on
governments and businesses to work together to make the most of
First, there is a renewed focus on the importance of public health,
with a greater sense of collective, global responsibility to ensure
that developing nations have access to basic services such as clean
water, as well as vital medicines, vaccines and healthcare
Second, driving the use of digital technologies to keep us all - as
individuals and firms - better connected and able to do more with
less friction and at ever faster speeds.
Third, transforming the way we work permanently, with hybrid
working models that provide flexibility and enable people to
improve their productivity and work life balance.
Critically, changes to the workplace also include redoubling
efforts to promote and improve diversity across organisations - an
area in which we have not done enough in the past.
Fourth, the diversification of global supply chains to make them
more productive, more efficient and ultimately more resilient to
potential future shocks.
Fifth, a commitment to 'building back better' - to use the slogan
that has become popular - which I interpret as ensuring the economy
works for everyone and has a strong focus on
And finally, largely as a cumulative result of the trends I have
already mentioned, speeding up the world's journey towards net
zero. A growing number of countries and organisations setting
targets will fundamentally transform business models and drive the
innovation required to reduce - and eventually eradicate - reliance
on fossil fuels.
Noel will speak to the very important climate resolution being
proposed today, and I will also return to it a little
We strive to play a leading role in supporting individuals,
businesses and communities through all of the changes taking place
This is how we can open up a world of opportunity for our
customers, for our people, for our communities and for you, our
Group Chief Executive's Statement and Strategic
Let me start by saying again how pleased I am to have this
opportunity to speak with you directly.
I also want to build on Mark's comments about the continuing health
The world as a whole has made great progress in containing
Covid-19, but some parts are still facing enormous
This currently includes Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Brazil,
Mexico and of course India.
But the ebbs and flows of the pandemic mean it could be somewhere
We have around 40,000 colleagues in India.
And we are doing what we can to help them and their
I want to thank them sincerely for everything they are doing to
support our customers and maintain service levels.
I also want to recognise the stress the pandemic has placed on all
of you, our loyal shareholders.
The health and economic crises have placed a large burden on you
With that in mind, it was incredibly important for us to restart
the dividend and the interim dividend for 2020 was paid last
Going forward, we have adopted a new policy designed to provide
sustainable dividends, offering good income while giving management
the flexibility to reinvest capital to grow the firm over the
Let me turn to our performance.
First and most importantly, our people have provided first-class
support to our customers and the communities we serve throughout
In 2020, we provided more than US$52bn of wholesale lending support
through more than 600 government schemes and
There was more than US$26bn of additional relief for personal
customers around the world.
We also played a vital role in keeping capital flowing, arranging
more than US$1.9tn of loan, debt and equity financing for our
To put this in some context, in the UK alone we delivered more than
£14bn of Covid-related business lending - that's equivalent to
around 17 years' worth of business loans processed in just eight
While the numbers tell us a lot, they still don't do justice to the
efforts and energies that went into delivering them.
My colleagues were agile, innovative and got things done in days
and weeks, not months and years.
Our rising customer satisfactions scores in 2020 are a testament to
them and to their efforts.
And they did all of this while dealing with many challenges and
concerns in their personal lives.
So let me also say a heartfelt thank you to all of
The economic impact of the pandemic did hit our profitability last
year, but we still delivered US$8.8bn of reported pre-tax profits
and US$12.1bn of adjusted pre-tax profits.
We also finished the year with a strong capital base of 15.9% and
increased customer deposits by around US$170bn.
This proves two things.
This is an incredibly strong and resilient business - particularly
in Asia, which delivered US$13bn of adjusted pre-tax
It also demonstrates that opportunity exists even in a year of
I'm pleased to say this year has got off to a good
In the first quarter, a good business performance, supported by a
net release of expected credit losses, delivered reported pre-tax
profits of US$5.8bn - which is an increase of 79% on last year's
first quarter. Adjusted pre-tax profits were up 109%, to
We also strengthened our lending pipelines across our personal and
commercial banking businesses, which bodes well for the
Amidst the challenges we faced last year, we carried out a major
exercise to refresh our core purpose as an
We spent a number of months consulting many thousands of colleagues
and customers, looking deeply into our history and also imagining
the world of the future.
We kept coming back to the same themes.
HSBC has always focused on helping customers pursue the
opportunities around them - whether they are individuals, families
Our renewed purpose - opening up a world of opportunity - captures
this aim and sets a challenge.
Opportunity never stands still.
It changes and evolves with the world around us.
Our job is to keep adapting with it, and to find and capture
opportunities with the same spirit of entrepreneurialism and
innovation that I feel represents HSBC at its very
Our purpose applies as much to our shareholders, as it does to our
customers or people.
We need to open up a world of opportunity for you too, which means
seeking to provide you with a good return on your
The best way we can do that is by executing our strategic
In February 2020, I announced a series of actions to make HSBC fit
for the future.
The world changed in 2020, so we took the opportunity to accelerate
our plan under four strategic pillars.
The first pillar of our plan is to drive growth by focusing on our
We want to be a global leader in cross-border banking flows aligned
to major trade and capital corridors, and a market leader in wealth
management particularly in Asia.
We are seeing strong demand in both areas.
In the first quarter, we grew Wealth balances in Asia by
We also grew trade-finance lending in Asia by around
This week we announced the sale of the domestic mass market retail
business in the US.
It is a good business, but we lacked the necessary scale to compete
with domestic competitors.
However, we will continue to have a strong presence in the US,
principally focused on internationally-orientated wholesale
banking. The US is key to our international network and an
important contributor to our growth plans.
We will seek to grow that business - and we will also retain the
capability to connect international wealth management clients to
other markets around the world.
The second pillar is to digitise at scale.
Our digital agenda presents opportunities for both revenue growth
and cost efficiency.
We are now increasing the pace of investment.
This has already enabled us to integrate our market-leading PayMe
app in Hong Kong into merchant check-outs, to launch HSBC Kinetic,
a fully digital mobile banking app for SMEs in the UK, and to roll
out our new innovative Global Wallet product for
The third pillar is about energising HSBC for growth.
Since the start of 2020, I've refreshed the top team of the
More than three quarters of my direct senior leadership team have
been in post for 15 months or less.
I've also reduced senior management numbers by 17%.
A priority now is to apply what we've learned through the lockdown
to improve the way we work.
We're moving to a hybrid working model wherever possible, giving
our people the flexibility to work in a way that suits both them
and our customers.
We will need less office space as a result, and expect to reduce
our global office footprint by more than 3.6 million square feet -
or around 20% - by the end of this year.
We're also taking action to improve ethnic diversity across the
Group, although it will take time to build the talent pipeline and
improve outcomes to where we need to be.
The final pillar is the transition to net zero, which is one of our
biggest drivers for change.
We're already a global leader in sustainability, and we want to
stay there as the market expands.
In 2020, we were the biggest underwriter of green, social,
sustainability and sustainability-linked bonds for the second year
running, nearly doubling the volume we underwrote in
We also set out an ambitious plan to align our portfolio of
financed emissions to net zero by 2050 or sooner.
Today we are tabling a special resolution that represents the next
level of detail of our climate plan.
It commits us to:
disclose and implement a sustainability strategy that has at its
core a commitment to support our customers on their transitions to
net zero carbon emissions. This includes a sector and science-based
approach to align our provision of finance to the Paris Agreement
goals, with short and medium term targets;
will publish and implement a policy to phase out the financing of
coal-fired power and thermal coal mining by 2030 in the EU and
OECD, and by 2040 globally; and finally
will report annually on our progress, starting with our 2021 Annual
Report and Accounts.
Committing to net zero presents us with a strategic
We can choose simply to divest from clients with higher carbon
But that alone is no guarantee that those emissions won't continue
with financial backing from elsewhere - and it will not allow for
an orderly and inclusive transition.
Or we can choose to partner with our clients to help them
decarbonise by financing their transitions to climate friendly
operations and clean technologies.
I passionately believe that we have a responsibility, as a leader,
to drive comprehensive change if we can.
As far as I'm concerned, we will always be judged on what we do
I expect to be held accountable by our stakeholders - and I welcome
To this end, let me thank ShareAction and a group of shareholders
for the constructive discussions we've had over the past few
I'm grateful for your support of our special resolution - and look
forward to demonstrating how we are delivering on the commitments
With COP26 under six months away, now more than ever, the world is
looking to the financial sector to step up and play its
Last month, HSBC became a founding member of the Net Zero Banking
Alliance - a group of 43 banks from 23 countries which will bring
collaboration and consistency to collective efforts to reach the
Paris Agreement goals.
And I'm committed to helping the whole system to embrace the
urgency of the low carbon transition.
In conclusion, there is still a lot of work ahead of
But we carry good momentum into the rest of 2021.
And I'm confident we can repay the trust you've placed in
Thank you all for your continued support.
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HSBC Holdings plc
HSBC Holdings plc, the parent company of the HSBC Group, is
headquartered in London. HSBC serves customers worldwide from
offices in 64 countries and territories in our geographical
regions: Europe, Asia, North America, Latin America, and Middle
East and North Africa. With assets of US$2,959bn at 31 March
2021, HSBC is one of the world's largest banking and financial
to the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the
registrant has duly caused this report to be signed on its behalf
by the undersigned, thereunto duly authorized.
Group Company Secretary and Chief Governance Officer