Standard Chartered shifts growth to capital markets
Standard Chartered’s corporate and institutional bank can increase its profitability even when rates fall, divisional head Simon Cooper tells Euromoney. After reaping the benefit of investments in cash management, Cooper is now turning to the financial markets business, especially credit – reinforcing efforts to grow clients in Europe and the Americas.
Standard Chartered has changed a lot, both in its business mix and culture, since Bill Winters took over from former chief executive Peter Sands in 2015. Winters’ recruitment of Simon Cooper the following year from arch-rival HSBC to lead the corporate and institutional bank, has played a big part in those changes.
When Cooper arrived, Standard Chartered was still recovering from the aftermath of rapid growth and ill-judged lending in the early 2010s, especially in wholesale banking, at a time when emerging markets appeared relatively healthy and the commodity cycle was reaching a peak. After the commodities cycle turned, the group posted a loss in 2015 and only narrowly avoided another loss in 2016.
Even after credit impairments fell, low developed market rates kept profitability low, leading to a group return on equity in mid-single digits until last year.
In important respects the bank looked much better in 2023, above all in Cooper’s division, which is by far the bank’s largest.