Standard Chartered Continues Cost-Cutting; Private Bank Not Affected

Tom Burroughes and Tom King London and Singapore 8 January 2015


The announcement by Standard Chartered today that it is shutting certain equities operations will not affect private banking or retail clients, this publication has been told.

The announcement by Standard Chartered today that it is shutting its institutional cash equities, equity research and equity capital markets activities, delivering around $100 million of cost savings in 2016, will not affect private banking or retail clients, this publication has been told.

The UK-listed bank, which earns the bulk of its revenues in regions such as Asia, announced that its cuts add to actions being taken to deliver at least $400 million of cost saves targeted for 2015 - as stated last November. The group is already on track to hit that target, it said in a statement.

The cuts announced today will affect around 200 roles across seven of the group’s 70 markets. In 2015 run-rate savings will broadly offset restructuring costs, the firm said.

A spokesperson told this publication that the private banking operations of Standard Chartered, seen as an increasingly important source of future revenue, will be unaffected.

Last year, falls in the firm’s share price led to speculation – which the bank has emphatically rejected when asked – about the future of current chief executive Peter Sands.

“The group will continue to develop its capabilities in convertible bonds, equity derivatives and macro-economic and fixed income research in support of its core businesses. The group will continue to provide strategic advice to its clients on equity financing,” it said.

“The group is already on track to achieve at least $400 million of cost saves identified for 2015. In the retail clients segment, the group’s strategy of focusing on key cities and accelerating the switch to digital has resulted in around 2,000 job cuts announced or completed in the last three months, with a reduction of a further 2,000 expected during 2015, primarily to be achieved by not replacing staff when they leave. We have also made good progress in closing 22 branches in the second half of 2014, and expect to achieve the previously announced target of 80-100 closures. These and other actions in the retail clients segment will contribute $200 million of the planned cost savings in 2015,” it said.

Standard Chartered last year said it was selling or shutting its consumer finance businesses in China, Hong Kong, Germany and Korea; its retail bank in Lebanon; retail securities in Taiwan; commercial leasing subsidiaries in Pakistan, private banking activities in Geneva and various SME portfolios, in particular in the UAE. In addition, the bank exited minority stakes in non-core investments including Travelex and Fleming Family & Partners.


Register for WealthBriefing today

Gain access to regular and exclusive research on the global wealth management sector along with the opportunity to attend industry events such as exclusive invites to Breakfast Briefings and Summits in the major wealth management centres and industry leading awards programmes