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Standard Chartered looks to digital, new markets in time of disruption

Sep 17. 2019
Bill Winters, Group Chief Executive at Standard Chartered Bank.
Bill Winters, Group Chief Executive at Standard Chartered Bank.
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By The Nation

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Standard Chartered Bank (SC) said it is aiming to become a big support for the future global investment market while also preparing to deal with digital disruption.

The bank saw an opportunity throughout Asia as the economy of Asean countries grew rapidly in recent years. It is investing Bt60 billion annually to improve its digital banking services, said Bill Winters, the group chief executive for Standard Chartered Bank

Winters said the strategy for this year is to seek new business opportunity, especially opportunities to support high-growth markets such as Thailand.

The Bank has been in Thailand for 125 years, and its history has encouraged the bank to move forward. It now provides services in every major Asian jurisdiction, including China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and India, as well as in Africa and the Middle East.

Standard Charter’s main strategy is to invest more on facilitating cross-border trade, while also investing in every border-trade market due to the recent rapid growth. He forecast that over the next 20 years, growth in the global market will depend significantly on border trade.

Moreover, the bank is also attending to business expansion and approaches to entering new markets. Recently, SC received permission to pursue banking s in Saudi Arabia, adding more investment opportunities in a new market.

In the next three years, the bank is forecasted for 3-5 per cent constant yearly income growth. 

“Every bank has an upturn or a downturn in every market. Some markets have a good economy but some don’t. Some markets face politically change. However, we have to follow our motto ‘Here for Good ’. This means we will stand beside our customers whether in an upturn or a downturn.

“When we decide to invest, it means a long-term investment. We intend to expand our business constantly. Our strategy is to improve what we have been doing well in such markets and to take part in growing such markets.”

With digital disruption hitting every sector, banks are also having to adapted to change, he said. In doing so, the bank will evaluate its processes so as to offer better service.

Banks have invested $1-2 billion, about Bt60 billion, with the main investment focussed on digitisation to reshape traditional services as digital services. Previously, the bank provided the service through a new licence. But digital services don’t have to be based only stand-alone banks. The new services are now available in 10 countries, including India, Singapore and in Africa, with Hong Kong the next to open for digital services. Providing digital services to many countries is vital to the future success of the bank, he said.

From left: Bill Winters and Plakorn Wanglee

Plakorn Wanglee, the president and CEO of the Thailand office, said that revenue of Standard Chartered business in Thailand  will this year see a 26-per-cent growth  while income  here will grow at a similar rate to last year, which was 3-5 per cent for the full year.

Their most important business strategy is encouraging businesses to invest more in both internal and external markets. A business satisfied with the internal market will seek opportunities outside the country, especially in Asia and particularly the Asean countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. The bank is eager to offer its support to encourage investment in both markets.

The bank is also looking to growth of the stock market, especially during fluctuating markets. The bank will take part in risk management during fluctuating markets for a business. As well, it creates new products to support institutional investors and foreign investors.

“The disruption has encouraged bank to adapt to the new change. We have to invest more in digital technologies to support our customers’ business, such as cooperating with the Bank of Thailand (BOT) to develop a payment application,: said Plakorn. “Recently, we collaborated with PTT on a trial of a digital oil-trading system on the Voltron blockchain-based industry platform in order to improve services for our customers.”

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