Standard Chartered looks to buy Indian wealth manager

City A.M. Reporter
MORGAN Stanley is in talks to sell its Indian wealth management arm to British bank Standard Chartered, it emerged yesterday.

A formal bidding process is likely to begin in the near future after several Indian financial services firms also expressed interest in purchasing the unit.

The unit in question has approximately $1bn (£660m) under management.

Standard Chartered is listed in the UK and India, and focuses on emerging market business.

The bank ran into trouble with the US authorities last year, with surprise allegations in August of breaking sanctions against Iran.

The New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) publicly accused the bank and settled the claims for $340m.

And it later settled similar allegations with several other regulators for $330m.

But despite those blows, Standard Chartered is still on track for a tenth year of record profits, and analysts believe it will continue growing at a healthy rate through 2013.

Morgan Stanley’s sale of the unit underscores a growing trend of consolidation in Asia's wealth management industry as private banks struggle to earn profits in the face of rising regulatory costs and wafer-thin advisory fees.

The US bank launched the sale in November, after entering the fragmented and competitive market about four years ago.