Posted inNews

StanChart to merge wealth, retail businesses

The bank expects that the changes will help grow its affluent and retail businesses.

Standard Chartered announced last week that will be combining its retail, private banking and wealth management businesses into one segment – the consumer, private and business banking (CPBB) business, effective January 2021.

The new business segment will be led globally by Judy Hsu, who is currently the bank’s regional CEO for Asean and South Asia. Hsu, who will continue to be based in Singapore, will be responsible for growing the affluent client base, for which the bank manages assets of at least $200bn, according to the statement from Standard Chartered.

In addition, the bank’s Greater China and North Asia business, and the Asean and South Asia business, will be combined into just one Asia segment, the statement added. The Asia region will be headed by Ben Hung, who is currently the regional CEO for Greater China and North Asia, and CEO for retail banking and wealth management. Hung will continue to be based in Hong Kong.

The bank noted that any management changes below Hsu and Hung “will be announced in due course”.

“The changes are designed to grow the group’s affluent and retail customer-facing businesses,” the bank said in the statement.

A Straits Times report said that the move comes after the bank has struggled to compete in the wealthy segment, with its private banking business making a loss of $14m in 2018 and a profit of just $94m last year.

Separately, a report from the South China Morning Post said that the bank confirmed that it will also make a “small number” of job cuts as part of an ongoing revamp. It also cautioned that income is likely to be lower in the second half on a year-on-year basis, citing potential headwinds from low interest rates and additional waves of Covid-19 infections.

“The global economy is likely to contract by 3.3% in 2020 due to the effects of COVID-19. Major headwinds include the resurgence and spread of Covid-19 infections, escalating US-China tensions and geopolitical events including US presidential elections,” the firm said in its first-half financial report.

During the first six months, the bank reported that income from its retail banking business was down 3% to $2.5bn on a year-on-year basis, while income from its private banking segment declined 2% to $300m.

In a similar move, HSBC also announced earlier this year that it will restructure its wealth management business to combine both high net worth and retail investors in one unit.

The revamp came after HSBC, which makes about 90% of its profits and 50% of its revenue in Asia, was hurt by a $7.3bn drop in annual profit and pledged to cut 35,000 jobs or 15% of its global workforce over three years.

The bank has been hiring and shuffling positions since then. The most recent one is that it appointed Adam Lau as regional head of markets solutions for Asia-Pacific which is a newly created position.

Part of the Mark Allen Group.