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Standard Chartered profits not yet acceptable, says boss as earnings disappoint

Published 01/11/2016

The Asian-focused bank is listed in London
The Asian-focused bank is listed in London

Standard Chartered boss Bill Winters has admitted the bank's profits are "not yet acceptable" as it posted worse-than-expected earnings.

The Asian-focused bank, which is listed in London, saw shares slump by more than 7% at one stage after it reported third quarter underlying profits of 458 million US dollars (£374 million).

This marked an improvement from losses of 139 million US dollars (£113.5 million) a year earlier, but left investors disappointed as it fell short of City forecasts.

Standard also revealed fresh compliance woes after confirming that Hong Kong's financial regulator planned to take action against the bank over its role as a joint sponsor of an initial public offering in 2009.

Mr Winters, who is overseeing a restructure at the bank after taking on the top job last year, said: "We have made progress executing the strategic actions announced a year ago.

"We now have a stronger balance sheet, reduced concentrations and are becoming more efficient, but income and profit levels are not yet acceptable."

The group posted its first annual loss since 1989 earlier this year after a sharp drop in revenue and surging loan impairments.

Mr Winters is slashing costs under an overhaul, axing 15,000 jobs across the group and selling off or restructuring more than 100 billion US dollars (£82 billion) of risky assets.

In its latest trading update, Standard said it was on track to make cost savings of more than one billion US dollars (£817 million) this year.

Its third quarter figures showed revenues fell in all four of its divisions, although it improved losses on bad loans, which more than halved to 596 million US dollars (£487 million).

Group-wide revenues fell 5.9% to 3.47 billion US dollars (£2.8 billion).

The group said it had stabilised revenues and profits in the third quarter, but cautioned it expects markets to remain "challenging".

Banking analysts at Jefferies noted disappointment at Standard's "lack of progress" on improving revenues.

Standard announced the departures of its former chief executive Peter Sands and chairman Sir John Peace last year after being plagued by problems including weakening trading conditions in emerging markets as well as US fines over sanctions-busting.

Sir John is set to leave on December 1, to be replaced by Jose Vinals, the former deputy governor of the Bank of Spain.

The group has also been in sharp focus over its plans after the Brexit vote and said in August it had set up an executive committee and working group dedicated to assessing the implications of the UK's decision to quit the EU.

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