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Standard Chartered is loving its Singapore & HK fintechs in 2023

Standard Chartered, which released its results for the first half of 2023, have had a stellar start to the year. Profits are up across the board, but it's Hong Kong and Singapore who really impress

Profits have tripled in Hong Kong comparative to the first half of 2022. Income was up $500m, while operating costs only rose $50m. Singapore profits also rose, theirs by about 79% to $658m, and they were also able to achieve a return on tangible equity of 30.4%, the highest of any key market.

So where is all this success coming from? The investment bank and wealth management saw largely uneventful changes, and the treasury division actually operated at a loss. Instead, the two top earning divisions were transaction banking, specificaly cash management, where income rose over $1bn, and retail banking, where deposits did the same thing.

The retail banking performance can be attributed to Standard Chartered's fintech initiatives, Trust Bank in Singapore and Mox Bank in Hong Kong. It has been funneling top bankers into those divisions this year and the work is paying dividends. The focus appears to be on Singapore; in its investor presentation, the bank says its planning for the lofty goal of Trust Bank becoming the "4th largest retail bank in Singapore by 2024."

That being said, neither venture is operating at profit as yet; Mox is aiming for profitability next year while Trust Bank is aiming for 2025. This means costs had to have been cut elsewhere in the bank. One such area is digital transformation specialists, a formerly coveted role that recently saw itself impacted by Standard Chartered's layoffs.

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AUTHORAlex McMurray Reporter

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