The lender declared a fourth interim dividend of HK$3.10 per share, bringing total distribution for 2017 to HK$6.70 per share, higher than the HK$6.10 a share it paid out in 2016.
However, Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor, took a more sanguine view of the bank's numbers. "HSBC is in a stronger and better position today to protect itself from bad actors than we were in 2010".
Flint, who takes over as chief executive officer on Wednesday, inherits an Asia-focused bank back in expansion mode after years of restructuring during which it lost more than $20 billion of revenue. Flint backed this up, telling investors on a conference call that there's been no change to the lender's policy on returning capital.
The London-based banking firm, HSBC, has announced its profit of previous year, earning £12.3bn (US$17.2bn).
It was an unusual miss for investors, too, who had got used to Mr Gulliver beating profit estimates, according to Bloomberg, at least in the latter part of his tenure.
The dividend is unchanged at $0.51 for 2017 the bank said in a statement.
The two companies responsible were Steinhoff International Holdings NV - the South African retailer engulfed in an accounting scandal and Carillion Plc, the United Kingdom construction company that imploded earlier early this year, a person familiar with the figures said, who asked not to be identified speaking about confidential data.
Rising interest rates helped the bank to increase revenues in its retail division by 9 percent in 2017, particularly from growing deposits and charging higher spreads in its second home market of Hong Kong. That compares with a 29% decline in European profit.
While the figures marked growth from a year earlier, they came in below analyst consensus forecasts.
In December, US authorities lifted the threat of prosecution against HSBC, five years after it admitted to widespread money laundering and sanctions violations.
HSBC said in its earnings statement that its 2017 financial results include a charge of $1.3bn relating to the "remeasurement of USA deferred tax balances" to reflect the reduction in the USA federal tax rate to 21 per cent from 2018.
Softening the blow for shareholders is the prospect of more cash being returned this year.
HSBC did not announce another round of share purchases as analysts had expected, but said in its earnings release that it would buy back shares "as and when appropriate". The drop came amid some unmet expectations that HSBC would announce a further buyback after it completed a $2 billion share repurchase past year. It was an important step for the bank, allowing it to avoid charges for a money laundering scandal involving Mexican drug barons and countries facing USA sanctions.
Gulliver described the lifting of the threat of prosecution by the USA as an "important milestone". The firm was also fined hundreds of millions of dollars for rigging foreign-exchange markets and benchmark interest rates around the world. "There's not a lot of point in trading backwards".