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The Stanchart rumour

There is a rumour that Temasek would like to combine Standard Chartered with DBS in order to create a true, global, Singapore-headquartered powerhouse. It’s a great theory. But does it stand up?

Jackson Tai, CEO of DBS Bank: The house that Jack built? At the moment, Temasek doesn’t have the clout in Stanchart to make it happen even if it wanted to: it holds 13% of the stock. Besides, according to Temasek itself, that’s not its style. "The option you point out is an option among many others," says Simon Israel, Temasek’s executive director. "Standard Chartered conceptually could be combined with many other banks, and we have an interest in some of those banks. But ultimately the decisions on these things are in the hands of the boards of individual companies. We would be much more looking at the parties to recognize opportunities for themselves than for us to sit there as the puppet master trying to orchestrate these things."

But would it make sense? From the Singapore end, sure: it would give global scale to the institution, and build a stronger presence in all sorts of Asian markets. "But put yourself in the shoes of Standard Chartered," says an analyst. "DBS is Singapore and Hong Kong; Standard Chartered already has a presence in both and they’re the two most saturated markets in Asia.

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