Standard Chartered has been rooting out some of its clients as it cleans up its business in the wake of regulatory investigations, its chief executive has said as the emerging markets-focused bank returned to profit in the first half of 2016.
Bill Winters, who is a year into his role of turning around the bank, said it had “exited some clients and some clients have chosen to exit us”.
The bank’s shares – which earlier in the year were driven to 25-year lows on concerns about the global economy – jumped 10% even as Winters admitted he needed to delay his targets for returns to shareholders.
Half-year profits stood at $893m, down on $2bn a year earlier, but it was a relief to investors after the full-year loss, the first since 1989.
“Conduct in the banking industry continues to be under scrutiny. That’s quite right, given the importance of the industry to the economies and societies where we operate,” said Winters, who spent much of his career at the US bank JP Morgan.
He took the top job at Standard Chartered last June after longstanding chief executive Peter Sands left as part of a boardroom shakeup following a number of profit warnings. Last week, the International Monetary Fund executive José Viñals was named as a successor to the chairman, Sir John Peace, after a long search.
Standard Chartered remains under investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority for effectiveness of its controls against financial crime.
Winters has previously expressed concern about some senior managers being “above the law” but said on Wednesday that the bank did not have a problem with its culture.
Winters blamed a downturn in global growth as he removed the timescale to achieve targets set only in November, when the bank tapped shareholders for £3.3bn and said 15,000 jobs would be cut. The return on equity targets of 8% by 2018 and 10% by 2020 no longer look achievable.
This article was written by Jill Treanor, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 3rd August 2016 12.31 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010