Standard Chartered rethinks its organization to bounce back

The bank’s chief financial officer, Richard Meddings, is leaving. The establishment headed by Peter Sands changes its management and is organized by type of client.

The good student of the British banking class sees his flame fade. Generating 90% of its profits in emerging countries, Standard Chartered had appeared impervious to the financial crisis in recent years. Unfortunately for his boss Peter Sands, this is no longer quite the case. Since the start of last year, the price of the UK’s most international bank has been sinking, while that of Lloyds Banking Group , the country’s most domestic, has soared.

It is in this context that the departure of Richard Meddings, the chief financial officer, as well as that of Steve Bertamini, the head of the retail bank, was announced Thursday. The head of the wholesale bank, Mike Rees, will become Peter Sands’ number two. On this occasion, the division between retail banking (36% of revenues) and wholesale banking (64%) will be abolished and the group will now segment its organization according to its customers. These will be grouped into three categories: businesses and institutions (60% of revenues), SMEs and private banking clients (10%), and, finally, individuals (30%).

The stated goal is to save costs. For Ian Gordon, analyst at Investec, this change is “above all cosmetic. All he is saying is that Mike Rees, the architect of exceptional growth for his division, is on the rise ”. Considered the favorite to take over from Peter Sands, the departure of the highly respected Richard Meddings comes as a surprise. According to Ian Gordon, it fuels speculation on the need for “StanChart” to raise capital, which explains the drop in price yesterday. Peter Sands denies, however.

After an exceptional decade, Standard Chartered had to pay $ 667 million in fines in 2012 for circumventing US sanctions against Iran. Last month, he announced that his earnings in 2013 would be like most of his peers: only stable. Emerging markets are now experiencing more difficult growth to manage. The establishment notably depreciated its South Korean division by a billion dollars, a slowdown that disappointed the markets given the past performance of the bank.

This poor performance is mainly due to a sharp drop in margins in international trade finance and a poor second half of the year in financial market activities. Although he is much more optimistic for 2014 on the potential for a rebound of StanChart, Ian Gordon recognizes that investors remain to be convinced.

The departure of the well-respected CFO fuels speculation on the need for “StanChart” to raise capital