Standard Chartered says Singapore job cuts 'minimal'

The London-based bank is closing the bulk of its global equities business, resulting in the loss of over 200 jobs. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
The London-based bank is closing the bulk of its global equities business, resulting in the loss of over 200 jobs. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

SINGAPORE - Standard Chartered told the Straits Times on Thursday (Jan 8) that the impact on its headcount in Singapore from announced job cuts "has been minimal."

"Singapore is one of the 85 high-growth cities which we have identified as strategic, based on market opportunity and growth and we will continue to invest here to better serve our clients," the spokesman said. The bank says it currently employs about 7,000 people in Singapore.

The London-based bank is closing the bulk of its global equities business, resulting in the loss of over 200 jobs. The spokesman did not disclose the number of jobs cut in Singapore, saying: "We won't be giving a breakdown. This will impact around 200 jobs mainly in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, India and Singapore. There is a minimal presence in the Britain and United States."

Standard Chartered also plans to axe 4,000 retail banking jobs worldwide, 2,000 of which have already been announced.

Its spokesman told the Straits Times the further 2,000 reductions in retail banking jobs will be made by end of 2015 and "will primarily be through attrition and by not replacing staff when they leave, across our global network."

Standard Chartered also said that its retail clients will not be affected from the bank's closure of its institutional cash equities, equity research and equities capital market (ECM) business.

"The exit of the institutional equities part will not have an impact on the retail clients in terms of executing any trades in equities," its spokesman said.

The spokesman added that the bank is implementing organisational changes and remapping roles within the retail clients segment globally, including Singapore, "to focus more on affluent clients and move from a product approach to a segment focus".

Exiting the bulk of its loss-making equities business will save the bank about US$100 million in 2016, Standard Chartered said on Thursday, while the retail banking job cuts will deliver another US$200 million in savings.

Reuters reported that some Standard Chartered staff in Singapore in its equity business were escorted from their workplaces when they arrived there on Thursday morning while some in Hong Kong found they were locked out of the office.

"We came in this morning and were told the equity business was being shut down," a woman who identified herself as an ex-employee at the bank's offices in Singapore's business district told Reuters. She said she had worked in research and had been with the bank for three years.