Nine years ago some banking commentators were pondering the benefits of a merger between Standard Chartered and DBS thanks to their common shareholder, Temasek. “Temasek is thought to be disenchanted with the management at DBS. Standard Chartered’s [former] chief, Mervyn Davies, is highly regarded,” reported London’s Daily Telegraph in October 2006. “…there might be scope for Standard Chartered to make DBS more efficient,” the article continued.
Now a merger has been mooted in the media once again, with Temasek’s stake in both banks also the catalyst for speculation this time round. But how the position of both firms has changed in the course of almost a decade. Standard Chartered is cutting 15,000 jobs on the back of poor results and plummeting share prices, while DBS had added 1,220 employees over the past 12 months and its healthy third quarter profits exceeded market expectations.
Merging the two firms could create a “powerful Asian player”, according to a Finance Asia article which details the differing strengths of the two banks in various regional markets and banking functions (Stan Chart is strong in India, DBS isn’t etc etc).
But while DBS is the bigger player in Singapore, Stan Chart also has a sizeable presence (7,000 staff) there, which means a large degree of business duplication between the two firms in that particular market. This would not be good news for jobs in Singapore. For example, it’s unlikely that all the employees of Stan Chart’s global IT and operations centre in Singapore would be retained because DBS also hubs those functions locally.
Barclays ponders selling Asian wealth management unit. (Business Times)
Could Singapore IT jobs be on the line as Standard Chartered cuts? (Channel News Asia)
BNP Paribas to shut down Hong Kong dark pool business. (Reuters)
Credit Suisse may need to cut bonuses by 60%. (Bloomberg)
New threat to Western banks in China. (South China Morning Post)
ICBC looks to gain from expected new yuan links between China and Singapore. (Straits Times)
Bank of China launches commodities business in Singapore. (Asia One)
Chinese workplace culture doesn’t need to reflect Chinese societal norms. (South China Morning Post)
Head of Korea Investment Corp resigns (WSJ)
UBS London picks fintech winners. (Financial News)