Standard Chartered profit dives 22 per cent in the first quarter

 
Jessica Morris
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Standard Chartered said pre-tax profit fell 22 per cent (Source: Getty)

British bank Standard Chartered has said that profit before tax fell by 22 per cent in the first quarter of 2015, as it quashed speculation that it could be eyeing a move east.

Pre-tax profit fell to $1.47bn (£96.2) in the first three months of the year, largely due to the performance of its corporate and commercial divisions.

The Asia-focused bank blamed an increase in bad loans, which rose 80 per cent to $476m from $265m in the first quarter of 2014, as well as more challenging trading conditions.

It shares were down 2.8 per cent at 1,084 pence per share in early afternoon trade.

But it doesn't look like the emerging-markets focused bank isn't in a rush to leave London just yet.

Speculation mounted after Britain's biggest bank HSBC said that it would weigh a move Eastwards once the regulatory environment became clearer.

"It's something we continue to keep under review, but there's no change in our overall position on domicile," chief financial officer, Andy Halford said.

"The board reviews it from time to time and clearly the increase in the [bank levy] number this time is pretty significant."

British banks have suffered as an increase in the bank levy makes it increasingly expensive to do business, alongside more demanding regulatory changes such as requirements to ring-fence their high street operators.

And Halford said the bank levy will cost Standard Chartered $540m this year, more than the $366m in 2014.

Today's results also strike a somewhat sombre parting note for Standard Chartered chief exec Peter Sands, who is scheduled to leave the bank later this year, as part of the bank's shake-up of its top-level management.

He'll be replaced by William Winters, a former head of JP Morgan's investment bank.

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