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Standard Chartered to shut equities operations

Standard Chartered is set to close its loss-making institutional cash equities, equity research and equity capital markets operations.

Standard Chartered

The decision is in addition to various actions being taken to deliver at least $400m of cost saves targeted for 2015 and enables the company to continue to exit or reconfigure non-core and underperforming businesses, contributing to its performance and the optimisation of capital deployment.

The closure is set to deliver around $100m of cost savings in 2016, impacting about 200 roles across seven of the group’s 70 markets.

The group will continue to provide strategic advice to its clients on equity financing, while developing its capabilities in convertible bonds, equity derivatives and macro-economic and fixed income research in support of its core businesses.

A reduction of a further 2,000 is expected during 2015 in the retail clients segment, primarily to be achieved by not replacing staff when they leave.

In the second half of 2014, the group closed 22 branches and expects to achieve the previously announced target of 80-100 closures.

Together these actions in the retail clients segment is expected to contribute $200m of the planned cost savings in 2015.

Standard Chartered group chief executive Peter Sands said: "We are continuing to take significant action on costs by exiting or reconfiguring non-core and underperforming businesses, and by increasing the efficiency of our core businesses.

"We are well on track to deliver at least $400m of cost saves for 2015, and we are now focussing on achieving further cost savings for 2016 and beyond as we continue creating capacity to invest in the Group’s core businesses."

Standard Chartered deputy group chief executive Mike Rees said: "As part of the Group’s on-going review of its client strategy, the decision has been taken to exit the institutionally focused cash equities business with immediate effect."

Image: Standard Chartered Bank China in Guangzhou Tianhe. Photo: courtesy of Chintunglee