StanChart to weigh simpler structure to control costs

By BLOOMBERG

LONDON • Standard Chartered plc (StanChart) is weighing a plan to simplify its structure as the emerging markets lender looks to control costs across its sprawling network from Zambia to Macau, said people familiar with the matter.

The London-based bank, which operates in about 60 markets, is exploring how to free up liquidity and reduce funding expenses within its different legal entities, the people said, asking not to be identified as the details are private.

StanChart said in a statement to Bloomberg it will outline how it plans to “deliver higher returns” when it reports its full-year results in February, without elaborating on the details. The lender is expected to unveil a strategic review to address investor concerns about rising expenses and an approximate 40% decline in the share price since Bill Winters became CEO in June 2015.

Winters is still seeking to convince investors he can revive longer term earnings growth and generate an acceptable level of profitability while cutting costs. He’s spent much of his tenure cleaning up the balance sheet and culture of the London-based firm, which had been saddled with bad loans.

As part of the review to be announced in February, the bank is also considering cutting the number of senior posts, one of the people said.

Its underlying profit was US$1.07 billion (RM4.48 billion) in the third quarter, ahead of a consensus estimate of US$976 million, as the bank managed to squeeze out more growth from Asian markets.