StanChart’s Ajay Kanwal chose to go, adhering to spirit of bank’s new policy

Ajay Kanwal’s loans had all been paid back by the associates he loaned money to, and had not affected the bank’s business in any way


Ajay Kanwal. Photo: Hindustan Times
Ajay Kanwal. Photo: Hindustan Times

Ajay Kanwal, the head of Standard Chartered Plc’s Asean and South Asian operations, resigned from the bank for failing to disclose relatively small personal loans extended to close associates, a person familiar with the matter said, asking not to be identified.

None of them were the bank’s clients, this person added.

On Monday, Kanwal said in a statement issued by Standard Chartered that some of his disclosures about investments in businesses outside the bank didn’t meet the company’s “very high standards”.

“Though I do not own these investments any more, as a senior leader my actions should be beyond reproach,” he added. Kanwal was unavailable for comment on Tuesday.

The person cited above added that Kanwal’s loans had all been paid back by the associates he loaned money to, and that these had not affected the bank’s business in any way.

That echoes what Standard Chartered chief executive Bill Winters said in the statement on Monday. There was no legal or regulatory breach, the bank said in an e-mail to Bloomberg News on Monday.

The person familiar with the matter described the issue as a “gap in the paperwork” because these loans were not reflected in Kanwal’s previous declarations.

This person added that once the gap was highlighted to Kanwal, he decided to resign in keeping with the spirit of a new policy Winters has put in place.

In memos to staff this year, Winters said the bank would take a “zero tolerance” policy on compliance issues after discovering transgressions concerning some employees’ outside business interests, financial dealings with co-workers and excessive expenses.

Kanwal spent 24 years at Standard Chartered and was part of its turnaround team.

Bloomberg contributed to this story.

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