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New StanChart boss Winters says bank needs to strengthen finances

[LONDON] Standard Chartered's new chief executive Bill Winters wants the Asia-focused bank needed to strengthen its finances, simplify and restructure to achieve better returns, he said in a letter to staff on his first day in charge.

"We need to reinforce our foundations; streamline our business; strengthen our financial position; and re-orient the bank for better returns on our capital," Mr Winters said in the letter seen by Reuters on Wednesday.

"Our capital strength is a key priority. Capital strength is a competitive advantage, especially in tough economic times. We are reviewing all aspects of our capital strength as part of our broader business review," he said.

Addressing concerns about the bank's capital strength is Mr Winters' top priority, and some investors and analysts have said he needs to raise at least US$5 billion from a rights issue and cut the dividend.

Mr Winters said in the letter he would announce the bank's leadership team after the summer and provide details of his broader plans by the end of the year.

"We need to be more resilient and learn to cope with the tough times ahead, but more importantly than that we need to rebuild confidence - in ourselves and with our stakeholders," the letter said.

"Our ethical standards must be beyond reproach and we must play a robust role in the global fight against financial crime. That is a key role for any bank in the world today and is one that we will continue to embrace."

Mr Winters said: "We will organise ourselves to simplify the way we work together, make decisions and be more efficient" and"must complete the process of making our control environment rock solid".