BoE stress tests: all you need to know

The Bank of England has released the results of its latest round of its annual banking stress tests and its semi-annual financial stability report this morning. Used to measure the resilience of a bank’s balance sheet in adverse scenarios, the stress tests measured the impact of a severe slowdown in Chinese growth, a global recession […]

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Draghi: Eurozone will decline without vital productivity growth

It’s productivity, stupid. European Central Bank president Mario Draghi has become the latest major policymaker to warn of the long-term economic damage posed by chronically low productivity growth, as he urged eurozone governments to take action to lift growth and stoke innovation. Speaking in Madrid on Wednesday, Mr Draghi noted that productivity rises in the […]

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Asia markets tentative ahead of Opec meeting

Wednesday 2.30am GMT Overview Markets across Asia were treading cautiously on Wednesday, following mild overnight gains for Wall Street, a weakening of the US dollar and as investors turned their attention to a meeting between Opec members later today. What to watch Oil prices are in focus ahead of Wednesday’s Opec meeting in Vienna. The […]

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Banks, Financial

RBS emerges as biggest failure in tough UK bank stress tests

Royal Bank of Scotland has emerged as the biggest failure in the UK’s annual stress tests, forcing the state-controlled lender to present regulators with a new plan to bolster its capital position by at least £2bn. Barclays and Standard Chartered also failed to meet some of their minimum hurdles in the toughest stress scenario ever […]

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Barclays: life in the old dog yet

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Categorized | Banks

Standard Chartered’s Asean chief resigns over disclosure failing

Posted on November 28, 2016

Standard Chartered’s head of the Asean and south Asia region has quit after barely a year in the job for failing to disclose personal investments, highlighting the hardline approach to misconduct by new chief executive Bill Winters.

The resignation of Ajay Kanwal comes only a few months after Mr Winters delivered an “angry” address to StanChart’s 1,500 top managers and sent several staff memos condemning transgressions by executives that he found after becoming chief executive last year.

“Ajay’s historical personal investments in businesses outside the bank had no impact on our clients or the economic interest of the bank,” Mr Winters said in a statement. “He has elected to put the bank’s interests above his own and I respect his decision to step down.”

Mr Kanwal, who was based in Singapore, is being replaced as head of Asean and south Asia by Anna Marrs, who will also continue to head its commercial and private banking division.

StanChart, which is listed in London but mostly operates across Asia, the Middle East and Africa, has suffered a tough few years after being fined by US regulators for sanctions breaches and incurring heavy losses on risky loans that turned bad.

Mr Winters plans to restructure or shed $100bn of risky assets, strip $2.9bn from its annual cost base and cut 15,000 of its 86,000 jobs by 2018, in an attempt to turn around the lender. He also promised to tighten its compliance and controls and recently warned of a “zero tolerance” approach in a #knowtherules memo to staff.

A 24-year veteran of the bank, Mr Kanwal was one of four new regional chiefs appointed by Mr Winters in a new slimmed-down structure last year. Credited with stabilising the bank’s struggling South Korean operation by cutting costs in his last job as head of north-east Asia, Mr Kanwal was also on the management committee.

“The bank rightly sets very high internal standards on disclosures for all staff,” said Mr Kanwal. “After careful deliberation I felt that some of my internal disclosures about my historical personal investments in businesses outside the bank did not meet these very high standards.”

He added: “Though I do not own these investments any more, as a senior leader my actions should be beyond reproach. Hence with regret I have decided to tender my resignation.”

StanChart is being investigated by authorities on several fronts. Last month it warned that the Hong Kong regulator plans to take action against it that could have “financial consequences” because of its role as a sponsor of an initial public offering in 2009.

In addition, the US Department of Justice is investigating allegations of bribery at an Indonesian power station company controlled by StanChart’s private equity arm. The bank is now considering selling the private equity arm to its staff or shutting it down.