However, Standard Chartered's chief financial officer Richard Meddings says headcount is down by about 2,000 from a year ago. (Photo: Reuters)
However, Standard Chartered\'s chief financial officer Richard Meddings says headcount is down by about 2,000 from a year ago. (Photo: Reuters)

Standard Chartered has hired around 2,000 people to work in compliance and legal functions over the last three years despite paring back on its employee headcount overall.

Speaking on an investor's call, following Standard Chartered's interim management statement, the bank's chief financial officer Richard Meddings also revealed that overall headcount has actually fallen by 2,000 from a year ago, as it aims to manage costs.

In March this year, Standard Chartered announced it cut its bonus pool by 7% to pay for the raft of fines, after unveiling its full year 2012 results.

Shoring Up Compliance

Meanwhile the bank, which makes more than 90% of its profits in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, was forced to strengthen its compliance provisions after the bank was found by regulators to have hidden at least a quarter of a trillion US dollars' worth of transactions linked to Iran, which is subject to stringent US sanctions.

In August last year, Standard Chartered's shares plunged to their lowest level in four years when New York state authorities threatened to remove the bank's US licence, accusing it of "acting as a rogue institution" in its dealings with Iran.

Two weeks after this, Standard Chartered paid a civil penalty of $340m (€263m / £225m) to the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS), in order to settle the regulator's charges.

Then, in December, the bank paid a $100m fine to the Federal Reserve and $227m to the Department of Justice for the same reasons as the DFS.

Standard Chartered was also ordered to install a money-laundering risk controls monitor team for a term of at least two years and who will also have to report directly to DFS.

The bank was also ordered to place DFS examiners on site permanently and install personnel within its New York branch to oversee and audit any offshore money-laundering due diligence and monitoring undertaken by the Bank.

Trading Update

Standard Chartered shares fell in Hong Kong, erasing earlier gains, to reach HK$189 after the bank revealed that it will fail to meet its 10% revenue growth target for the next financial year amid a slump in its corporate banking businesses.

According to the UK-listed bank's latest trading update, revenue in the first three months to September dropped by a "low single-digit percentage," as weakness in emerging market currencies weighed heavily on its balance sheet.

Meddings, said Standard Chartered didn't expect to reach its target of at least 10% revenue growth this year.