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Standard Chartered bosses give up bank bonuses

Thursday, March 5, 2015 - 06:46
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Bosses at Standard Chartered have given up their bonuses after profits at the Asia-focused bank fell by more than a third last year.

[HONG KONG] Bosses at Standard Chartered have given up their bonuses after profits at the Asia-focused bank fell by more than a third last year.

Standard Chartered, which last week said chief executive Peter Sands would step down in June followed by chairman John Peace next year amid various troubles at the bank, saw net profit slide 37 per cent in 2014, the second consecutive year of decline.

The British lender said profit after tax came in at US$2.51 billion for the year, down from US$3.99 billion in 2013 and described the result as "disappointing".

Mr Peace said that "in light of the disappointing performance of the Group, those executive directors on the PLC Board throughout the year came to the conclusion that they should show leadership by not taking any variable compensation for 2014".

The bank's overall bonus pot was down 9.0 per cent on 2013.

Mr Peace said "2014 was a challenging year, and our performance was disappointing", but added that the bank took "decisive action" last year to reposition itself for the future.

Operating income fell two per cent year-on-year to US$18.23 billion while profit before tax stood at US$5.19 billion, down 25 per cent from 2013.

"We faced a perfect storm," Mr Sands said in the statement underlining negative sentiment to emerging markets, a sharp drop in commodity prices and a welter of regulatory challenges.

Mr Sands who has worked at the bank for 13 years said the year's earnings was "one of the more challenging" he's had to explain.

"Some of the decisions we took in the past look less good now than they did at the time, such as Korea," he said.

Former JPMorgan investment bank head Bill Winters will replace Sands, who had issued three profit warnings over the past 12 months that sparked shareholder calls for a boardroom cull.

Standard was last year hit by a US$300 million fine from New York state's banking regulator for failing to detect possible money-laundering.

The fine came two years after it paid US regulators US$667 million to settle charges it violated US sanctions by handling thousands of transactions involving Iran, Myanmar, Libya and Sudan.

In 2014, loan impairments for the bank rose 32 per cent, mostly from corporate and commercial clients, while its Korean business lost US$145 million before tax.

The bank saw its income in greater China rise 5.0 per cent to US$5.45 billion.

Standard Chartered in January said it would close a swathe of its global equities business and axe 2,000 jobs around the world this year as it tries to make savings of US$400 million in a structural overhaul.

AFP

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