Standard Chartered warns compliance costs are mounting as it stays in the UK

Tim Wallace
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Sir John Peace: “We are listening carefully to our shareholders”
An increasing number of compliance staff are paid seven-figure salaries at Standard Chartered, the bank’s bosses told shareholders yesterday, as it battles to make sure it does not pay more mega-fines.

The UK-based emerging markets specialist has been hit with fines for breaking US sanctions, and is increasingly beefing up its anti-money laundering teams.

Chairman Sir John Peace and outgoing chief executive Peter Sands also told the annual general meeting that the ever-increasing bank levy is another factor making it consider leaving the UK.

“We are listening carefully to our shareholders on this issue, in light of the latest increase in the bank levy, the likelihood of further increases and the impact on the group’s costs,” said Peace.

The 0.21 per cent levy is charged on the global balance sheets of UK-based banks, meaning those with global operations are hit hard.

Fellow global bank HSBC is further ahead than StanChart in considering its domicile, with executives actively weighing up the relative merits of moving to cities like Hong Kong or Singapore.

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