Standard Chartered promises to ‘step up’ technology investment to cut costs

Chief executive Peter Sands looks to technology to support cost cutting plans

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Standard Chartered’s group chief executive Peter Sands has promised to increase investment in technology to cut costs as the troubled lender continues attempts transform its business.

Sands, who will waive his bonus after a 30 percent fall in yearly profits, said that the firm will spend more on IT to streamline its business, foster innovation and respond to regulatory demands. The moves are part of aims to reduce costs by $400 million (£265m) this year, ahead of further savings in 2016.

“We are stepping up the pace of digitisation, automating and reengineering key processes and standardising technology platforms,” Sands said.

He added that "the only way we can manage the ever-increasing complexity of regulation efficiently is through technology, so we are not cutting back on technology investment, but actually increasing this in order to achieve sustainable improvements in productivity.”

Standard Chartered recently announced that it would cut 4,000 jobs to accelerates the overhaul of its operations as it attempts to return to profitabilty, through a “switch to digital”. It was also announced in January that CIO, Jan Verplancke, is set to leave the firm after ten years.

“We are realigning staff and resources to meet the changing needs of our clients,” the company said at the time. “Investing in better technology is a key element of our strategy which will see us moving quickly to adopt more digital and mobile channels that will allow our clients to enjoy easy and convenient banking solutions.”

In its full year results, published today, the bank also made reference to the “shortcomings” in its 2007 upgrade of transaction monitoring systems at its New York branch, which that led to a $300 million money laundering penalty from US regulators.

It cited a “need for ongoing investment in enhancing our systems and processes associated with conduct and compliance”, and highlighted that said that remediation measures would remain in place until the transaction surveillance system’s ‘detection scenarios’ – essentially the triggers to alert staff to fraudulent behaviour – met regulatory standards.

Image: Standard Chartered

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