Standard Chartered is likely to post its 10th successive annual profits rising 4% to $7bn (£4.66bn), despite having to pay $667m (£441m) fine to US authorities for having acted as an accomplice to Iran government by hiding illegal transactions of as much as $250bn (£160bn) over nearly a decade. Standard Chartered, led by former McKinsey consultant Peter Sands for more than six years, is expected to have added about 2,000 staff in 2012 and has said it could expand by a similar amount this year, although it plans to keep cost increase below its rise in income.
The whooping fine was expected to wipe out Standard Chartered’s growth in 2012 but the London-based bank has ended up reporting profits yet again due to its growing Asian markets which offset the loss that would have resulted from the fine amount, defying analysts forecast. Asian markets saved the day for Standard Chartered where much of the bank’s profits came from. Standard Chartered has ridden Asia’s rise through much of the last decade, allowing it to continue hiring and witness increased earnings when much of the industry is shrinking.The bank’s annual results are expected to show strong growth in Malaysia, China and Indonesia and mirror its rival HSBC with rise in earnings in its biggest market, Hong Kong.
Over the year, Standard Chartered has also complained about tougher liquidity rules imposed by its home UK regulator. Britain is imposing tougher capital and liquidity rules and a tax on bank assets which could make Standard Chartered shell out more than $320m (£213m) this year, rekindling speculation that it could look to move its headquarters from London to Asia. An EU cap to limit the bonus packages to no more than twice an employee’s salary in big corporation could also hamper the bank’s pay structure.