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Roundtable - Malcolm Williamson, chief executive, Standard Chartered

The virtual roundtable

Do you expect there to be further consolidation in the world banking industry? Will there be large scale cross-border - as well as domestic - bank mergers?

Williamson: I have no doubt that there will be increasing consolidation over the coming years. We have already seen the start of this process in the developed world. Now, one of the effects of turbulence in Asia will be that commercial realities, and government pressure, will encourage consolidation of smaller banks there. This will not just be a domestic phenomenon, and I do expect to see the emergence of significant regional players within the next five years.

So far, Europe has been dominated by national banks. As monetary union gathers pace, I am sure we will see increasing cross-border consolidation in Europe.

Do you see banking consolidation putting any downward pressure on professional salaries?

Williamson: There is already some downward pressure on salary increases for bank staff in the developed world, as consolidation takes place and branch networks are rationalised. This will continue. On the other hand, as banking products and technology become more sophisticated, highly skilled professionals will still be able to demand a significant premium.

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