By Maxwell Nkansah
As set out during its full-year 2021 results presentation, Standard Chartered PLC has said it is accelerating its strategy to deliver efficiencies, reduce complexity and drive scale.
The Group has announced in a statement, a set of actions to redirect resources within its Africa and Middle East (AME) region to those areas where it can have the greatest scale and growth potential, in order to better support its clients.
Subject to regulatory approval, the Group now intends to exit onshore operations in seven markets in AME and in a further two markets to focus solely on its Corporate, Commercial and Institutional Banking (CCIB) business.
The Group said it has invested “heavily” in recent years in the AME region including fundamentally transforming its digital capabilities in its African markets.
It has also been expanding its footprint to cover some of the largest and fastest-growing economies, having recently opened its first branch in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and obtained preliminary approval for a banking license in the Arab Republic of Egypt.
The seven markets where there will be a full exit of operations are Angola, Cameroon, The Gambia, Jordan, Lebanon, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe.
In Tanzania and Cote d’Ivoire, the Consumer, Private and Business Banking businesses will be exited and the focus will turn solely to CCIB.
The Group remains focused on serving its clients where it can make the most impact.
The Group will continue to serve corporate and institutional clients and facilitate cross-border capital flows and offshore business in all the above markets from its international network.
The Group is currently present in 59 markets and serves clients in a further 83.
The markets that will be exited generated around one per cent of total Group 2021 income and a similar proportion of profit before tax.
Standard Chartered Group CEO, Bill Winters, said: “As we set out earlier in the year, we are sharpening our focus on the most significant opportunities for growth while also simplifying our business.
We remain excited by a number of opportunities we see in the AME region, as illustrated by our new markets, but remain disciplined in our assessment of where we can deliver significantly improved shareholder returns”.
Accordingly, they said that their actions will position the AME franchise for the next phase of growth after a very strong 2021 performance. We are grateful to our colleagues and partners in each of these impacted markets for their hard work and dedication and are committed to supporting them through this transition.
There will be no change to how the Group reports these businesses for the first quarter of 2022 results. Changes to their presentation will be shown in the half-year 2022 results.