Standard Chartered goes on hiring spree

Didier von Daeniken, global head of private banking and wealth management at Standard Chartered, says the bank plans to increase its assets by over $30 billion in the next three to five years. (Reuters)
Updated 15 August 2019

Standard Chartered goes on hiring spree

  • Private banking business caters to wealthy individuals across Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe

HONG KONG: Standard Chartered is targeting growing its private banking assets by half to about $100 billion in three to five years, whilst hiring dozens of bankers in Hong Kong and Singapore to do so, a senior executive at the lender has said.

The moves show StanChart has big growth ambitions for the private banking unit that had until recently weighed on the lender’s earnings, with its small size stoking speculation it would be put under review for possible divestment.
The lender will recruit 30-40 private bankers every year in the next two to three years to add to its roughly 300 existing relationship managers, and the bulk of the additions will be in Hong Kong and Singapore, StanChart’s global head for private banking and wealth management Didier von Daeniken told Reuters.
With $65 billion worth of private banking assets, London-headquartered StanChart is a small player compared with UBS which, as per Asian Private Banker data, had assets worth $2.3 trillion and Credit Suisse, with $770 billion last year.
The private banking business accounted for just 3.8 percent of StanChart’s total profit before tax in the first-half of this year.

"Our ambition is to see us cross the $100 billion mark. That makes us a meaningful player in this landscape.”

Didier von Daeniken, StanChart’s global head for private banking and wealth management

“Our ambition is to see us cross the $100 billion mark. That makes us meaningful internally for the group, that makes us a meaningful player in this landscape,” Daeniken said. “Hitting $100 billion can give us credibility internally, help us to attract talent.”
StanChart’s private banking business caters to wealthy individuals across Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe, through booking centers in Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai, India, London and on the island of Jersey.
The unit had weighed on the group’s earnings in the recent past, as it sought to reposition the business to target rich individuals with at least $5 million in investable assets amid stiff competition in Asia, which brings in bulk of its revenue.
Underscoring a potential turnaround, StanChart’s private banking business posted a pre-tax profit of $100 million in the first half of this year, compared with a loss of $5 million in the same period last year.

HIGHLIGHTS

• StanChart to hire 30-40 private bankers per year.

• Bank currently a small player in private banking, with $65bn assets.

• Speculation earlier that small size would force bank to review business.

StanChart’s private banking return on tangible equity, a key measure of profitability, increased to 15.7 percent in the first half of the year compared to a negative 1 percent in the year-ago period, its latest financial report showed.
As part of the plans to bolster assets under management, the private banking unit plans to tap more of the group’s corporate and institutional banking clients in Asia and other emerging markets where it has existing banking networks.
“With $65 billion we are definitely not among the largest, but we are part ... of a company with a large balance sheet, with an unmatched presence locally in all the markets, which really matters when you cover the emerging markets,” Daeniken said.
In the near-term, however, concerns about the global economy and 10 weeks of protests in Hong Kong that have plunged the Asian financial hub into its worst crisis had made clients “more prudent” in their investment decisions, he said.
Daeniken added StanChart’s private banking unit had come a long way “but the task before us is as difficult because we really have to maintain the momentum in a difficult market environment.”


Oil recoups losses as OPEC, US Fed see robust economy

Updated 14 November 2019

Oil recoups losses as OPEC, US Fed see robust economy

  • US-China trade deal will help remove ‘dark cloud’ over oil, says Barkindo

LONDON: Oil prices reversed early losses on Wednesday after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said it saw no signs of global recession and rival US shale oil production could grow by much less than expected in 2020.

Also supporting prices were comments by US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, who said the US economy would see a “sustained expansion” with the full impact of recent interest rate cuts still to be felt.

Brent crude futures stood roughly flat at around $62 per barrel by 1450 GMT, having fallen by over 1 percent earlier in the day. US West Texas Intermediate crude was at $56 per barrel, up 20 cents or 0.4 percent.

“The baseline outlook remains favorable,” Powell said.

OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said global economic fundamentals remained strong and that he was still confident that the US and China would reach a trade deal.

“It will almost remove that dark cloud that had engulfed the global economy,” Barkindo said, adding it was too early to discuss the output policy of OPEC’s December meeting.

HIGHLIGHT

  • US oil production likely to grow by just 0.3-0.4 million barrels per day next year — or less than half of previous expectations.
  • The prospects for ‘US crude exports had turned bleak after shipping rates jumped last month.’

He also said some US companies were now saying US oil production would grow by just 0.3-0.4 million barrels per day next year — or less than half of previous expectations — reducing the risk of an oil glut next year.

US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday Washington and Beijing were close to finalizing a trade deal, but he fell short of providing a date or venue for the signing ceremony.

“The expectations of an inventory build in the US and uncertainty over the OPEC+ strategy on output cuts and US/China trade deal are weighing on oil prices,” said analysts at ING, including the head of commodity strategy Warren Patterson.

In the US, crude oil inventories were forecast to have risen for a third straight week last week, while refined products inventories likely declined, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Tuesday.

ANZ analysts said the prospects for US crude exports had turned bleak after shipping rates jumped last month.