HONG KONG (REUTERS) - Standard Chartered reported on Wednesday (Oct 30) that third quarter profit rose a better-than-expected 16 per cent, as a surge in business from corporate clients helped the bank weather unrest in its core market of Hong Kong and global trade tensions.
StanChart's pretax profit for the three months ended Sept 30 increased to US$1.24 billion (S$1.7 billion) from US$1.07 billion in the same period a year ago, above the US$1 billion average of analysts' forecasts compiled by the lender.
StanChart is in the midst of a second three-year turnaround plan under Chief Executive Bill Winters, with plans to double returns and dividends in three years by cutting US$700 million in costs and boosting income.
The first of those in 2015-2018 focused on repairing a balance sheet ravaged by ill-advised lending in Asia, improving the bank's internal controls, reducing costs, and shedding unwanted businesses.
"The continuing execution of that strategy remains our priority," Mr Winters said in a statement.
The bank's corporate and institutional banking income grew 13 per cent during the quarter, while private banking rose 14 per cent, it said, adding that its core capital ratio remained within the 13-14 per cent target range at 13.5 per cent.
StanChart, however, flagged that there were "growing headwinds from the combination of continuing geopolitical tensions and expectations of declining near-term global growth and interest rates".
StanChart's bigger rival HSBC abandoned on Monday its own return target of greater than 11 per cent by 2020, blaming a worsening revenue outlook and tougher than expected market conditions.
The London-listed shares of StanChart are up 14 per cent so far this year, compared with a 9 per cent drop in HSBC's shares.