Monday, May 12, 2008

Stanchart goes on hiring spree | S'Pore

Bank swims against the tide; plans to recruit another 500 in S'pore and 10,000 worldwide
While banks in the US and Europe are making announcements - almost on a daily basis - about job cuts and writedowns, Standard Chartered stands quietly poised to grab any talent that may come its way.
As its peers downsize, Stanchart will hire aggressively, especially in Asia. The bank has decided to swim against the general tide of gloom and feels this is the time to grow.
The bank derives most of its profits from Asia, Africa and the Middle East and has escaped relatively unscathed from the sub-prime fallout. It is well-positioned to expand, it said.
A Stanchart spokeswoman told BT yesterday that its Singapore operations will be expanding by nearly 11 per cent in 2008 alone. Some 500 people will be hired in Singapore across the consumer and wholesale banking and support functions, mainly in sales and risk management positions. The bank employs some 4,700 people in Singapore.
In all, the bank will be hiring 10,000 staff this year, across the world according to Richard Meddings, Stanchart's group finance director.
The biggest hiring spree will be in India where the bank plans to recruit another 3,000 people. Another 1,500 will be hired in China, 500 in Hong Kong, 400 in Pakistan, while the remaining 4,100 will be spread across different geographies. The bank's consumer banking business will see the biggest expansion staff-wise. More than half of the new hires - 6,000 people - will be recruited for this segment, while 1,000 will add to the wholesale banking staff. The remaining 3,000 hires will be slotted in support functions like risk, finance, operations, and technology.
'We are well-positioned for growth and are investing in people to leverage on the opportunities in the market,' said the Stanchart spokeswoman.
'We have been very successful in supporting this growth in Singapore due to our ability to attract, engage and develop talent across our markets,' she added. The bank on Wednesday said it had writedowns of US$97 million on its asset-backed securities portfolio for the first quarter. Another US$156 million charge was made to reflect losses arising from the change in the fair value of its available-for-sale reserves. The bank reported writedowns of US$300 million for 2007 on the value of of some of its its asset-backed securities.
All this, however, paled in comparison with the bank's profits before tax of US$4.04 billion for 2007.
This compares to other banks which have been beset with losses from their investments in collateralised debt obligations (CDOs). Swiss bank UBS AG, reported a net loss of 11.5 billion Swiss francs (S$15 billion) for its first quarter on the back of writedowns of US$19 billion. UBS is cutting 5,500 jobs globally, on top of 1,500 already earlier announced.
Citi reported a straight quarterly loss of US$5.11 billion , undone by more than US$15 billion in writedowns and increased reserves for credit losses. The US financial giant announced the slashing of 9,000 more jobs, in addition to the 4,200 job cuts already reported in January.
Source: Business Times

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