Standard Chartered To Shut Equity Sales, Research Business

Standard Chartered To Shut Equity Sales, Research Business
By Cobaltblue25 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Standard Chartered said Thursday it is dismantling its stock brokering, equity research, and equity listing desks worldwide, eliminating about 200 jobs as it failed to build scale in the unprofitable businesses. The British bank will, however, continue to operate its convertible bonds, equity derivatives, macroeconomic research and fixed-income research units.

To prune about $100 million in annual costs by 2016

Standard Chartered Bank has been looking to sell or wind down under-performing or ancillary business units to bolster profit by reducing costs as part of a restructuring announcement made last year. The process includes last month’s sale of its consumer finance businesses in Hong Kong and China for an undisclosed sum. The latest announcement will save the bank about $100 million by 2016.

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In addition, the British bank is pruning its network and plans to close 80 to 100 branches. The bank has already sold or closed other businesses in several countries, including Korea, Germany, and the United Arab Emirates.

The latest announcement will involve the bank quitting its institutional cash equities, equity research and equity capital markets business lines. The effort will prune 200 jobs spread across seven of the bank’s 70 markets, with about half of those cuts in Hong Kong.

Standard Chartered to close 8% of network in 2015

As reported by ValueWalk in November, the British bank unveiled plans to close as many as 100 retail branches or 8% of its network in 2015 with an aim to achieve an annual savings of $400 million from the closures and enhance its profitability.

In a statement Thursday, the bank disclosed that it is “on track” to prune costs by at least $400 million this year after eliminating about 2,000 consumer banking jobs in the past three months. The bank has plans to cut that many again in 2015.

Peter Sands, the group chief executive at the bank, has been under pressure to prune costs and stem faltering earnings that sparked the biggest slump in shares last year since the global financial crisis in 2008. Earlier, the U.K.’s largest government-owned bank, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, also shut its cash equities and equity capital markets operations as regulators pressure banks to hold more capital versus risks.

Standard Chartered derives the bulk of its global revenue from its corporate and retail banking operations, which handle savings, loans and other banking needs for businesses and households across emerging markets, especially in Asia. The British bank also runs a large bond and currency trading business, which historically has been a strength for the bank.

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