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Standard Chartered: Out of the shadows?

StanChart is through the worst of its crisis, but nowhere near where it needs to get to

History will probably observe that 2017 was when Standard Chartered started to turn things around after several years of misery and misadventure. 

It is still a very hard slog. But more than two years on from Bill Winters’ appointment as chief executive in June 2015, the bank is making profits, improving asset quality, shedding bad businesses and strengthening its balance sheet. 

More than that, the bank has sought to completely change its culture, particularly in its most vital business, corporate and institutional banking. Led by Simon Cooper, its practices look increasingly like those of his old shop HSBC, and many of his key hires – notably Paul Skelton – also made their name at that bank. 

Mantras under Cooper include: velocity of the balance sheet; using the footprint; overhauling the coverage model; moving bankers away from a product-led approach towards relationship management; taking accountability for risk; and lending on its own is not enough. 

Bill Winters

Throughout its considerable travails, StanChart still had the advantage of a deeply entrenched network in high-growth emerging markets.

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