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Morning Coffee: Can an investment banker really run Standard Chartered?

Can an investment banker really run Standard Chartered?

A good fit?

What type of skills does Bill Winters need to succeed at Standard Chartered? His ability as a manager rather than his technical banking expertise will be key, columnist and former banker Peter Guy wrote in the South China Morning Post yesterday.

“Realising the importance of human interaction and relationships – both within the bank and with clients – is needed to bring a bank brand alive in Asia. No amount of mobile technology and slick marketing can substitute for the personal banking experience,” says Guy in the SCMP. “It is accomplished by retaining and training long-term staff. This may seem outdated, but today’s objective of cross-selling private banking products and services demands even better relationship management skills.”

Guy also raises questions about whether Winters is the right culture fit for Stan Chart. “Once Winters quickly understands the cultural DNA that he has inherited at Standard Chartered, he will see if his experience and skill sets as a derivatives trader, hedge fund manager, regulator and former number-two at J.P. Morgan are relevant for an organisation that remains at its heart a commercial and retail bank.”

He adds: “Investment bankers and hedge fund managers typically work in small teams expecting and generating instant action and short-term results. Commercial and retail bankers operate in larger groups and require leaders close to the frontlines of service, even knowing some customers. This will be difficult to do when Standard Chartered’s most profitable businesses are located outside London while it is headquartered in London.”

Winters’ background won’t necessarily count against him, however. James Gorman, the chairman and chief executive of Morgan Stanley, was a former McKinsey partner, proving that “even a non-banker can transform a financial institution”, Guy points out.


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