Shareholders have forced HSBC into giving them a vote on a structural overhaul of the bank, which would including spinning off the firm's Asian business.

An investor group led by shareholder Ken Lui, argued that the firm's Asian arm was effectively subsidising the western businesses, to the detriment of the bank's shareholders.

To solve this, the motion proposed instituting "structural reforms including, but not limited to, spinning-off, strategic reorganisation and restructuring its Asian business". 

Lui has also tabled another motion for HSBC to increase its dividend to pre-Covid levels, which shareholders are also set to vote on.

In a notice to investors, HSBC's chair Mark Tucker argued shareholders to vote against the proposal at the firm's annual shareholder meeting on 5 May, the Sunday Times reported.

The board said it recommended investors vote against the move, saying it had already considered "strategic reorganisation, and restructuring of the company's Asia businesses" in 2022.

"The board concluded that all of these structural reforms would significantly dilute the economics of our international business model upon which our strategy is based," it said. "This would result not only in a material loss of value for shareholders but also lower dividends."

HSBC has faced constant pressure from investors to consider a break-up, which has so far been led by major shareholder Ping An Asset Management

Last year, the asset manager, who owns a 9% stake in the bank, said HSBC's performance had fallen "far below" that of its rivals, and that it would support "any initiatives" that would improve the bank's performance and value.

Ping An has not yet indicated whether it will support the motion proposed by Lui.

Lui himself also heads a group that campaigns for the move and took out newspaper adverts calling for the change last year.