Standard Chartered takes further action on strategic plan

  • Standard Chartered to close cash equities business
  • On track to deliver at least $400m of cost savings in 2015
  • Focusing on achieving additional cost savings in 2016

London and Singapore. Standard Chartered PLC (“the Group”) today announced the closure of its institutional cash equities, equity research and equity capital markets “ECM” activities, as the Group continues to exit or reconfigure non-core and underperforming businesses. This decision is in addition to a number of actions being taken to deliver at least US$400m of cost saves targeted for 2015, as communicated to investors last November, which the Group is already on track to achieve.

The closure of the loss-making institutional cash equities, equity research and ECM operations will deliver around US$100m of cost savings in 2016, and will impact approximately 200 roles across seven of the Group’s 70 markets. In 2015 run-rate savings will broadly offset restructuring costs.

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.

The Group is already on track to achieve at least US$400m 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 US$200 million of the planned cost savings in 2015.

The balance will largely arise from cost savings in other client segments, product groups and global functions, and actions are either complete or underway to achieve these.

Exiting or reconfiguring non-core and underperforming businesses will also contribute to the Group’s performance and the optimisation of capital deployment. Last year the Group announced the sale or closure of 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 Group exited minority stakes in non-core investments including Travelex and Fleming Family & Partners.

Peter Sands, Group Chief Executive, said: “We are demonstrating action and progress as the management team focuses on delivering returns for shareholders. We are continuing to take significant action on costs by exiting or reconfiguring non-core and underperforming businesses, and by increasing the efficiency of our core businesses. We are well on track to deliver at least $400m of cost saves for 2015, and we are now focussing on achieving further cost savings for 2016 and beyond as we continue creating capacity to invest in the Group’s core businesses.” 

Mike Rees, Deputy Group Chief Executive said: “As part of the Group’s on-going review of its client strategy, the decision has been taken to exit the institutionally focused cash equities business with immediate effect. While this has sadly resulted in a number of colleagues leaving the Bank, a transition team will remain to manage the interim period and support our clients.” 

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