Bottom Line: StanChart’s Pru tie-up hints at a revival

Tim Wallace
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STANDARD Chartered has taken a kicking in the last 18 months, from fines for Iranian sanction busting to ending its astonishing 10-year streak of record profits.

Shareholders have had it rough – after its recent peak of around £1,800 per share in May 2013, the stock is down around one-third to £1,203 at close of play yesterday.

As a result the bank has launched a new round of structural reforms, closing under-performing units around the world and redefining its goals.

Yesterday we saw a positive part of that growth strategy fall into place, a refreshing change from the series of blows the bank has taken in recent months.

It has rolled out its deal to sell Prudential’s insurance and savings to another six countries, taking its total to 11 across Asia.

Those now include China and India, and more are planned across the continent and into Africa.

The idea is to boost its wealth management business, making the 800 affected branches hubs for up to 13m customers across the region to come for advice and services.

It is part of the bank’s plan to double the assets under management in its wealth arm to $300bn by 2020 and the scale of the 15-year deal with the Pru shows it is making a strong start on the way to that target.

Selling someone else’s products in your branches is not always a sign of strength in itself, but it looks like a great fit with Standard Chartered’s new focus on wealth – and particularly its goal of all round support for rich families in emerging markets.

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