Tuesday 31 March 2020 9:11 pm

Coronavirus: Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC and RBS suspend dividends

Barclays, the Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC and Lloyds Banking Group said tonight they are suspending dividend payments this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The banks said they had taken the decision after a request from the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).

The PRA also said it expected the banks to suspend cash bonuses to senior staff.

Barclays said it will not undertake any interim ordinary share dividend payments, accrual of ordinary share dividends or share buybacks during 2020.

It has also cancelled the 6p per ordinary share full year 2019 dividend that was due for payment on 3 April.

RBS also said it would not pay further dividends in 2020 and said it had decided to cancel its final ordinary and special dividend payments in relation to the 2019 financial year.

RBS had previously announced an ordinary dividend of 3p per share totalling £363m, a special dividend of 5p per share worth £605m and a dividend-linked contribution of £500m pre-tax.

Lloyds also said it had decided to pay no dividends in 2020 and cancel outstanding dividends from last year.

Barclays, RBS and Lloyds said they decided to cancel dividend payments after a request from the UK Prudential Regulation Authority to preserve capital for use serving its customers and clients.

Barclays said it will decide on any future dividend policy and amounts at year-end 2020.

Barclays chair Nigel Higgins said: “These are difficult decisions, not least in terms of the immediate impact they will have on shareholders.  The bank has a strong capital base, but we think it is right and prudent, for the many businesses and people that we support, to take these steps now, and ensure that Barclays is well placed to continue doing what we can to help through this crisis.”

RBS chief executive Alison Rose said: “As we continue to build a purpose led bank we are committed to balancing the needs of all our stakeholders. Helping people, families and businesses who need our support is the right thing to do at this time of significant uncertainty.

“The board remains committed to capital returns, will continue to review the situation and will look to resume distributions to ordinary shareholders in due course.”

Barclays said it still planned to announce its results for the first quarter on 29 April.