10% cut in corporate, institutional staffing

People walking in front of the main branch of Standard Chartered in Hong Kong, on Jan 8, 2015.
People walking in front of the main branch of Standard Chartered in Hong Kong, on Jan 8, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS

Standard Chartered is set to lay off about a tenth of its global corporate and institutional banking headcount, sources with direct knowledge of the matter said yesterday, as the bank steps up an aggressive drive to cut costs.

StanChart chief executive Bill Winters earlier this month branded the bank's income and profit as unacceptable, with below-forecast third-quarter results underlining the challenges facing his overhaul. He said the performance at the corporate and institutional division needs to improve.

The job cuts will be rolled out from this week across all the bank's major business centres including in Singapore and Hong Kong, one of the sources told Reuters. All the sources declined to be named as they were not authorised to speak to the media.

"We are making our corporate and institutional banking division more efficient," a StanChart spokesman said, without revealing how many jobs are to be axed.

"Removing duplication in roles and managing our costs to protect planned investments in technology and people means that a small number of existing roles will be impacted," the spokesman added.

Mr Winters, a former JPMorgan investment banker, has already closed the stock trading business.

This week's reductions are part of a programme announced last December to help save US$2.9 billion (S$4 billion) by 2018.

Most of the cuts will be from the banking products side as executives try to eliminate overlaps in client coverage with regional relationship managers, a separate person said.  At the corporate finance business, about 10 to 15 managing directors are leaving, with Singapore the most affected office, said the person.

StanChart had about 84,500 employees at end-June, down about 1,500 from the same period in 2015. The bank's employees are split almost evenly between business units and support services, according to its annual report.

While it did not provide a breakdown of staff per unit, corporate and institutional banking generated almost half of revenue in the first half of this year.

REUTERS, BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 29, 2016, with the headline '10% cut in corporate, institutional staffing'. Print Edition | Subscribe