INVESTMENT BANKING | Contributed Content, Singapore

Investing with your all-weather financial partner

You might see your wealth protection and growth plans get displaced in the current economic climate, but having the right banking partner makes all the difference.“We are committed to developing 'all-weather' investment plans with our customers. We believe that investments, be it for wealth building or wealth preservation, need to happen in good times and bad,” says Ajay Kanwal, Regional Head of Consumer Banking, Southeast Asia, Standard Chartered Bank.Standard Chartered Bank has partnered generations of Singaporeans for 150 years, standing by customers through good and bad times.The Bank takes pride in championing several industry firsts in Singapore which include being the first commercial bank to offer Automatic Teller Machines, the first to offer current and savings accountholders an on-line service and the first among foreign banks in Singapore to be awarded Qualifying Full Bank (QFB) license.The Bank has never lost focus on what is most important to it – its customers, capital, liquidity, managing risk, costs and operational control.“We are well positioned to take advantage of opportunities that emerge as a result of the prevailing market conditions. We think there is an opportunity for us to deepen our relationships with our customers, to stand by them as they face chal¬lenges, to support them as they grasp the opportunities that emerge,” Kanwal says.Standard Chartered has attributed its strong performance to its core strategy. It believes in doing business in markets in which it is embed¬ded, with products it understands fully and with customers with whom it has built strong relationships.It also believes in investing in the right talent and places strong importance on developing leadership capabilities. Adopting a ‘strength based’ approach in its leadership development, the bank moves its promising staff into people management roles early in their careers to leverage on their strengths. “We encourage them to venture out of their comfort zones and take on roles that stretch and test their leadership capabilities,” explains Kanwal. “Cross functional and geographic moves are actively promoted as we want to develop well-rounded leaders with broad international perspectives,” he adds.Standard Chartered Bank Singapore’s results for 2008 are testament to its strong position. Its income is up by 60 percent to US$1,426 million (S$2,018 million). Its operating profit before tax has also increased by 67 per¬cent to US$744 million (S$1,053 million) and its costs on continued investment in new businesses, products and services has gone up by 48 percent to US$637 million (S$902 million). The Bank’s income and operating profit in 2008 is double that achieved in 2006, driven by gains in market share, investments in product capabilities and a strong focus on deepening client relationships.The Bank’s commitment to being the right banking partner to its customers is recognised in its clean sweep of awards in the Asian Banking and Finance Retail Banking Awards. It emerged tops in the categories of Best Self-Service Initiative, Best Core Banking System Initiative, Best Branch Initiative, Retail Bank of the Year and Best International Bank of the Year.Today, Singapore is one of Standard Chartered’s top three markets by pre-tax operating profit. Singapore is also the hub for the Bank’s global Consumer Banking and Wholesale Banking businesses as well as Technology and Operations. Its Global Private Bank is also headquartered in Singapore.In 2009, Standard Chartered has gone further to offer to its customers new product and service offerings that include rewarding their total banking relationship. The Bank works in close partnership with its customers to create and protect their wealth in the long term and recognises the importance of building a core asset allocation model that is suited to each customer’s unique profile.Kanwal sums up the Bank’s unwavering commitment to its customers and Singapore: “We are very much a part of the fabric of the community, growing from strength to strength. We are proud to have had the opportunity to play an active role in the development of the Singapore community through the years, as well as in establishing Singapore as a key financial centre.”

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