SINGAPORE • Standard Chartered plc (StanChart) said Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd wasn’t being critical of the bank’s strategy and leadership when it declined to back the election of non-executive directors in May.
The Singapore investment company, StanChart’s biggest shareholder, is uncomfortable with the London-based lender’s governance plan and is pushing it to hire more independent directors, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, citing an unidentified person.
“Temasek have assured us that their abstention does not imply any criticism of the individuals concerned, nor StanChart’s performance or strategy,” Doris Fan, a Hong Kong-based spokeswoman at StanChart, said in an email yesterday.
“Temasek has voted in favour of all other resolutions” at the annual general meeting.
StanChart, Britain’s second-biggest bank by market value, appointed four non-executive directors as part of a plan started a year ago “to enhance the experience, depth and diversity” of the board, it said last week.
Temasek has talked to potential buyers of its 18% stake in the bank in recent months, the Financial Times reported on Sept 25, citing people close to the matter.
There were no discussions under way at the time, according to the report.
The dialogue with Temasek “does seem to mitigate against there being any precipitous plan to offload some or all of its shares near-term,” said Ian Gordon, a London-based analyst at Investec plc who recommends buying the stock with a 1,800 pence price target.
Temasek’s withholding of the vote at the annual shareholder meeting relates to a misinterpretation of UK corporate governance standards, Fan said.
StanChart appointed Lars Thunell, Margaret Ewing, Om Prakash Bhatt and Louis Chi-Yan Cheung as non-executive directors, it said in a statement on Sept 28.
Thunell and Ewing start on Nov 1, while Bhatt and Cheung start Jan 1.
StanChart was unchanged at 1,404 pence at 10:13am local time, valuing the bank at £33.5 billion (RM165.92 billion).