Standard Chartered set to axe jobs in Singapore, Hong Kong and London in cost-cutting exercise

SINGAPORE: Standard Chartered has begun laying off employees across Singapore, London, and Hong Kong as part of an ongoing cost-cutting initiative, according to a report by Bloomberg News.

The report, published on Wednesday (7 June) states that the major bank aims to reduce costs by more than US$1 billion through 2024, with an initial target of US$1.3 billion.

While a final number has yet to be determined, the total job reductions could exceed 100, according to sources familiar with the matter who spoke to Bloomberg. The bank has apparently already started trimming roles in middle-office functions, including human resources and digital transformation, primarily in Asia over the past few weeks.

In addition to these cuts, several managing directors in financial markets have been laid off in London, according to an unnamed source. A spokesperson for the bank, however, has emphasized that the ongoing review of role requirements is a normal part of business activities.

Standard Chartered’s cost-cutting measures are in line with similar actions taken by other banking conglomerates. Goldman Sachs is expected to reduce approximately 250 jobs in the coming weeks, while JPMorgan Chase plans to cut around 500 employees, as per a Reuters report that was published in May.

Standard Chartered, which generates a significant portion of its revenue in Asia, reported a 21 per cent increase in first-quarter profit, surpassing expectations.

The rise in interest rates contributed to higher income from the bank’s cash management and retail banking businesses. Pre-tax profit for the January-March period reached US$1.81 billion, marking the bank’s largest first-quarter profit in nine years, compared to US$1.49 billion the previous year.

However, the bank’s financial markets trading segment experienced weaker activity compared to the previous year when there was record volatility in the markets. Standard Chartered’s biggest market, Hong Kong, is still recovering from an extended period of economic contraction.

Earlier this year, the London-listed bank sold its Jordanian business to Arab Jordan Investment Bank (AJIB) as part of its plan to exit seven markets in Africa and the Middle East.

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