Standard Chartered to lay off more than 100 as part of $1bn cost cuts

A tough economic environment and muted deal-making have dented revenue across the global financial industry

Standard Chartered bank in Singapore. Despite being based in London, the lender makes most of its income from its operations in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Reuters
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Standard Chartered is embarking on selective lay-offs of employees across its Singapore, London and Hong Kong offices, part of the Asia-focused lender’s plan to cut costs by more than $1 billion through 2024.

The bank has started trimming roles in middle office functions such as human resources and digital transformation in Asia in the past few weeks, according to sources.

A few managing directors in financial markets have also been cut in London, said one of the sources. Some junior staff will be let go as well, another source said.

The total reductions could be more than 100, although a final number has yet to be decided.

“It is part of normal business activity to review our role requirements on an ongoing basis across the bank, to ensure that we remain effective in delivering our business strategy and serving our clients’ needs,” a Standard Chartered representative said.

The bank has previously said it intends to save up to $1.3 billion from 2022 to 2024.

Standard Chartered’s lay-offs came as a tough economic and muted deal-making environment dented revenue across the global financial industry.

Goldman Sachs Group last week detailed plans for more job cuts as the bank hunkers down in the face of what president John Waldron called an extraordinarily challenging economic backdrop.

Morgan Stanley co-president Andy Saperstein has also given a gloomy forecast for the bank’s sales, trading and deal-making operations.

Standard Chartered mostly missed out on a fixed income trading boom in the first quarter that was reported by some Wall Street banks.

Its financial markets arm posted a 9 per cent decline in the period, with income from commodities falling from a record a year ago.

Standard Chartered’s chief executive Bill Winters said the banking system would weather the current turmoil, although “everyone is looking hard at whether deposits are as sticky as we thought” after the rapid decline of several regional banks in the US.

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Despite being based in London, Standard Chartered makes most of its income from its operations in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Its single biggest market is Hong Kong, which is still navigating its rebound after a prolonged period of economic contraction.

Standard Chartered also has significant operations in Singapore where its largest investor, Temasek Holdings, is based.

Updated: June 08, 2023, 5:42 AM