Bill Winters Delivers Deftly Steering Standard Chartered Bank During Period of Uncertainty

As part of its annual Global Retail Banking Innovation Awards program (under its People & Employee Awards stream), The Digital Banker conducts an extensive assessment of leaders across the retail banking landscape. It is intended to recognise those individuals that are making unique contributions to their respective institutions, while championing ground breaking initiatives that are having a material impact in terms of overall retail finance performance.

Importantly, The Digital Banker assessed a number of senior executives with a proven and well established track record of delivering results and empowering their teams to grow, thrive and evolve as needed in response to changing market dynamics and wider strategic shifts. Clearly, these achievements are demonstrated through the leadership capability, organisational strength and corporate strategy in place backed by measurable outcomes.

Indeed, in this year’s edition, The Digital Banker is pleased to recognise Bill Winters, Group Chief Executive, Standard Chartered Bank as “CEO of the Year” as a testament to his remarkable orchestration of a truly reenergised Bank buoyed by purpose and momentum, by spearheading multi-faceted growth and accelerating institutional innovation across all lines of business under his remit.

STRONG AND EFFECTIVE PERFORMANCE DEFINES A CHALLENGING YEAR AT THE HELM

Winters assumed his role at Standard Chartered Bank (SC) as Group Chief Executive in June, 2015, following a distinguishing career in banking & finance spanning three decades. Importantly, under his leadership in 2022, SC delivered an impressive performance with income exceeding $16 billion, the highest since 2014 and a 15% increase. With the Group realising key objectives as laid out in its five strategic actions namely:

  • Driving improved returns in Corporate, Commercial & Institutional Banking (CCIB)
  • Transforming profitability through productivity in Consumer Private & Business Banking (CPBB)
  • Seizing the opportunity in China with the ambition to double onshore and offshore profit before tax
  • Creating operational leverage and delivering gross cost savings of $1.3 billion
  • Delivering over $5 billion of capital returns to shareholders

Furthermore, Winters ensured that SC remained extremely disciplined in managing costs, while leveraging underlying business growth and a favourable interest rate environment to secure $4.8 billion in profit before tax, marking a 15% year-on year increase. The Bank also recorded an 8% Return on Tangible Equity (RoTE) with plans to attain double digit figures in 2023. Risks stemming from lingering inflation, economic slowdown in key markets such as China and a rising interest rates have had a marginal impact on the Bank’s loan portfolio and asset quality although exposure to China commercial real estate remains an ongoing concern.

Focusing on the CPBB segment, SC realised gross savings of $233 million against the 2024 target of $500 million crediting branch network rationalisation, process re-engineering initiatives, headcount efficiencies and productivity gains through automation. Moreover, the CPBB cost to-income ratio improved by 5% to 69% as cost control efforts deliver as intended, despite the market headwinds confronted by the Bank’s wealth management business.

CHAMPIONING NETWORK, DIGITAL AND SUSTAINABILITY CAPABILITIES TO DRIVE INSTITUTIONAL RESILIENCY

Moreover, positioning the Bank as a bridge in connecting the world’s most dynamic markets and making requisite investments in digital capabilities and sustainability, Winters has led the team from the front in capturing new opportunities for the business and unlocking value for all stakeholders. Given increasing South-South cooperation and intra emerging market trade and investment corridors, SC can effectively support those flows via its unique geographic footprint.

In addition, through strategic partnerships with other multinationals, fintech companies, startups and government agencies, SC has leveraged technology to drive innovation and enable new digital platforms and ecosystems to facilitate successful customer journeys and/or operational enhancements. Similarly, the continued penetration of its two digital-only propositions in the Hong Kong and Singapore markets, through Mox and Trust Bank respectively, continues to achieve new milestones in elevating digital customer experience and driving client acquisition.

On the sustainability front SC remains on track to reach net-zero targets within its operations by 2025 while working towards its financed emissions goals by 2050. With a sustainability team in place the Bank has made requisite investments in programs and capabilities, targeting a $300 billion in sustainable financing by 2030, guided by a Green and Sustainable Product Framework and Transition Finance Framework.4 Commendably, Winters is deeply engaged in driving the climate finance agenda and chairs the Net Zero Banking Alliance representing Standard Chartered Bank.

Clearly, SC is on an upward growth trajectory across key dimensions and Winters credits these institutional achievements to his colleagues at SC observing that “every single member of the Bank plays a special role in contributing to our collective success. Through them we endeavour to bring new products and services to our customers across our footprint. Through them we are here for good.” Indeed, the Bank remains poised to achieving its RoTE target of 10% given that it is reassuringly a highly liquid and well capitalised financial institution with a diversified deposit base.

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