Standard Chartered to trim more than 100 roles as part of cost cuts

"It is part of normal business activity to review our role requirements on an ongoing basis across the bank, to ensure that we remain effective in delivering our business strategy"

Standard Chartered

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By Ambereen Choudhury, Manuel Baigorri and Harry Wilson

Standard Chartered Plc is embarking on selective lay-offs of employees across its Singapore, London and Hong Kong hubs, part of the Asia-focused lender’s existing plan to cut costs by more than $1 billion through 2024.

The bank has started trimming roles in middle office functions including human resources and digital transformation in Asia in the last few weeks, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. 

A few managing directors in financial markets have also been cut in London, according to one of the people. Some junior staff will be let go as well, another person said. The total reductions could be more than 100, although a final number has yet to be decided, the people said.

“It is part of normal business activity to review our role requirements on an ongoing basis across the bank, to ensure that we remain effective in delivering our business strategy and serving our clients’ needs,” a spokesperson for Standard Chartered said.

The bank has previously said it is targeting $1.3 billion of savings from 2022 to 2024.

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Standard Chartered’s targeted culls came as a tough economic and muted dealmaking environment dented revenue across the global financial industry. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. last week detailed plans for more job cuts as the bank hunkers down in the face of what President John Waldron called an extraordinarily challenging economic backdrop. Morgan Stanley Co-President Andy Saperstein also has given a gloomy forecast for the bank’s sales and trading and dealmaking operations. 

The British lender mostly missed out on a fixed income trading boom in the first quarter that was seen at some Wall Street banks. Standard Chartered’s financial markets arm posted a 9% decline in the period, with income from commodities falling from a record a year ago. 

Standard Chartered’s Chief Executive Officer Bill Winters has said the banking system would weather the current turmoil, although “everyone is looking hard at whether deposits are as sticky as we thought” after the rapid decline of several regional banks in the US.

Despite being based in London, Standard Chartered makes most of its income from its operations in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Its single biggest market is Hong Kong which is still navigating its rebound after a prolonged period of economic contraction. Standard Chartered also has major operations in Singapore where its largest investor, Temasek Holdings, is headquartered.

First Published: Jun 8 2023 | 8:26 AM IST

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