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Standard Chartered Taps New Southeast Asia Private Bank Head Amid Review

Stock Markets Oct 03, 2019 04:57AM ET
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© Reuters. Standard Chartered Taps New Southeast Asia Private Bank Head Amid Review
 
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(Bloomberg) -- Standard Chartered Plc (LON:STAN) hired Cedric Lizin to head private banking for southeast and south Asia after executive Srinivas Siripurapu resigned.

The change in management comes at a sensitive time for the unit. Bloomberg News reported last month the private bank is in the process of reviewing all of its roughly 8,000 clients after finding it sometimes couldn’t explain the source of their wealth. Siripurapu didn’t return an e-mail seeking comment.

“Following what has been an incredibly intense period building out our private banking business in the region over the last few years,” Srinivas has decided to spend more time with his family, according to an internal memo circulated Thursday. He is being replaced by Lizin, who joins from UBS Group AG, where he was head of wealth management and senior executive officer for Dubai.

One of the largest Western banks operating in emerging markets, Standard Chartered operates a sprawling network of offices across Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East, serving thousands of corporate clients and millions of retail customers.

A 2017 review by Dubai’s financial regulator found that Standard Chartered’s private bank couldn’t explain how many clients acquired their money and in some cases lacked even basic information such as current addresses and phone numbers, Bloomberg reported in September, citing people familiar with the situation. The bank subsequently discovered similar client documentation failures in major hubs including Hong Kong, Singapore and London, the people said.

Standard Chartered has paid billions of dollars in fines to regulators for sanctions violations and other wrongdoing, casting a pall over Chief Executive Officer Bill Winters’s attempts to turn around the lender since joining in 2015. This year, the bank paid $1.1 billion to the authorities in the U.S. and the U.K. to settle an investigation over violations of sanctions against Iran and anti-money-laundering failures.

Low Morale

Faced with a collapse in staff morale after repeated run-ins with local regulators and aggressive financial targets, senior managers in the region recently delivered hand-written ‘Thank You’ cards to staff and hosted team bonding sessions where employees were asked to write letters praising each other, the people said. The charm offensive intensified after Bloomberg made queries about shortcomings at the private bank, they said.

A survey of Standard Chartered’s global workforce found that the private bank reported the highest levels of dissatisfaction, according to an internal report seen by Bloomberg News. The survey discovered a negative score for the private bank when staff were asked whether they would recommend to others to work there, a metric known as a net promoter score. The overall result for the group was positive.

After Bloomberg News reported last month on the widespread anti-money laundering failures at the bank, senior managers told staff they should not talk to journalists, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Standard Chartered Taps New Southeast Asia Private Bank Head Amid Review
 

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