StanChart's global head of commodities business to leave as team restructured

The bank's commodities business is housed within the bank's financial markets business.
The bank's commodities business is housed within the bank's financial markets business.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE (REUTERS) - The global commodities chief at Standard Chartered is leaving the bank as part of the division's restructuring, with many commodities team executives switching to the bank's financial markets unit, according to a company memo and one person familiar with the matter.

In a memo sent to staff earlier this month and reviewed by Reuters, Mr Roberto Hoornweg, StanChart's global head of financial markets, said Mr Cengiz Belentepe, global head of commodities and regional head of Financial Markets West, was leaving the bank after a four-year stint.

It wasn't immediately clear whether the exact role that Mr Belentepe is relinquishing will be retained. Mr Hoornweg said in the memo that with Mr Belentepe's departure, he would "re-align" the financial markets regional head structure and the commodities team.

A StanChart spokesperson confirmed the contents of the memo late on Monday, declining to comment further.

The bank's commodities business is housed within the bank's financial markets business, which includes foreign exchange, credit and capital markets and rates.

The moves see StanChart joining a growing list of global banks restructuring or reducing their commodities business to cut risk following a series of commodity trader collapses which shocked banks after instances of fraud were laid bare by the coronavirus crisis. Many put their trade finance divisions under review as they scrambled to recoup billions of dollars in debt.

The collapse of Singapore-based oil trader Hin Leong has also affected many banks, with StanChart having an exposure of US$240 million (S$328 million), according to a court filing by the trader.

StanChart hasn't commented directly on its exact exposure to Hin Leong.

In its first quarter, StanChart reported credit impairment of US$956 million and said a large portion of that was accounted for by two clients - in commodity trading and healthcare - but didn't identify the clients.


A person familiar with the matter said while some commodities staff members would switch divisions, some would be leaving the bank, without providing further details. The person declined to be named because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

In his memo, Mr Hoornweg said the commodities business was a "critical value proposition" for StanChart's clients, across both corporate customers and financial institutions, and he would align the commodities business with the rest of financial markets.

He said the bank will integrate both the commodities sales and structuring teams with financial markets sales and structuring.