Belfast Telegraph

'Boring' bank linked to Iran scandal slashes staff bonuses

By Graeme Evans

A banking group whose 'boring' reputation was tarnished by allegations it breached sanctions on Iran has said it cut its bonus pool by 7% following the scandal.

Standard Chartered, which employs 89,000 and sponsors Liverpool Football Club, reported a 1% rise in annual profits to $6.9bn (£4.6bn) for 2012, even though it was fined $667m (£443.1m) by US authorities last summer.

The 160-year-old bank was branded a "rogue institution" after regulators claimed it exposed the US to terrorists and drug kingpins by hiding $250bn (£166bn) of transactions with Tehran.

The allegations came as a shock given Standard's reputation – it once described its approach as "boring" amid the turmoil engulfing the banking sector. Between January 2001 and 2010, the US financial watchdog claimed Standard moved 60,000 transactions through its New York branch that were subject to US economic sanctions, and then covered up the dealings.

The bank is focused on Asia and emerging markets and has no UK branches, although its London headquarters are a key hub for its wholesale banking business.

The reduction in the bonus pool to $1.4bn (£930m) has been accompanied by a 10% reduction in the bonus of chief executive Peter Sands to around £2m. Further details will be revealed in the annual report later this month.

The results were the tenth year in a row of profits growth and without the US fine the figure would have been 11% higher on a year earlier.

Chairman Sir John Peace said: "Throughout a turbulent decade – for the world economy and for banking – we have continued to deliver consistent value for our shareholders, and Standard Chartered remains a growth story."

The company added that it had made significant enhancements to its global sanctions, anti-money laundering systems and procedures.

Standard's shares were 3% higher yesterday and have risen by around 30% since the summer.

Belfast Telegraph