StanChart Asia CEO eyes yuan, hiring, bubbles

StanChart Asia CEO eyes yuan, hiring, bubbles

Hong Kong: Standard Chartered Plc’s Asia chief executive told Reuters Insider on Wednesday that the bank plans to increase hiring for its new businesses and sees the appreciation of China’s currency as an opportunity for the bank and its clients.

In response to a question on concern over too much money flowing into emerging markets—a question that added HSBC Holdings Plc’s recent comment on seeing “speedbumps" in these markets—Asia chief executive Jaspal Bindra cited Brazil and Korea as fitting that description.

“We are seeing pockets where people are, either through capital reserves and mortgages, trying to arrest the mortgage bubble," Bindra said in the television interview.

He added the commodities space to his watch list “because I think that is the other bubbly space right now".

Although based in Britain, the majority of StanChart’s business was focused on Asia, home to 70% of the bank’s headcount, business and profitability, Bindra said.

Areas in which Bindra said he expected to increase hiring include new businesses, such as equities, corporate finance, private banking and commodities.

The Indian national who has spent most of his professional career as a banker said the industry went through a major shift after the 2008 financial crisis.

“I think the one thing that has surprised us is that for a long time—2001 to 2008—clients were very transactional. I think the experience of the last two years has put them back in a relationship mode, which we are pleased about," he said. “It’s a fundamental shift to how they approach the business. They no longer keep going on beauty parades shopping for the best rate."

Asked about the global currency issues that have seized headlines lately, Bindra focused on China’s yuan, also known as the renminbi.

“It gives us a new opportunity to play the RMB," he said. “As people see the reality of yuan appreciation, there is the potential that there will be a lot more yuan-denominated trade, which we are well positioned to capture."