Jobs on offer at Standard Chartered as Asian market remains strong

Standard Chartered is stepping up hiring and investment to take advantage of rivals retreating from its core Asian markets, after a strong first six months set it up for a 10th straight year of record profits.

The London-based bank plans to add 1,000 to 1,500 jobs and increase investment spending by about $100m in the second half of 2012, its finance director Richard Meddings said yesterday.

The bank has ridden on Asia’s rise through the last decade, allowing it to continue hiring and posting earnings growth when much of the industry was shrinking.

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StanChart said its pretax profit in the six months to the end of June was $3.95bn, up nine per cent from a restated $3.64bn a year ago. It was above the average forecast of $3.7bn from analysts and in line with the company’s guidance in June.

“The second quarter was very tough for everybody, so for them to achieve such growth is very decent,” said Dominic Chan, an analyst at BNP Paribas in Hong Kong.

Chief executive Peter Sands said recession and problems in Western economies had slowed growth in Asia, but he was confident growth in the region would continue, albeit with “some bumps in the road”.

“We have had a strong July, but we are watchful of the significant and growing challenges in the external world, and we are managing risk tightly,” Mr Sands said.

The bank, which started life financing trade between Europe and Asia and Africa, is picking up trade finance business as European rivals shrink or pull back closer to home, and it plans to build up corporate finance teams in China and Africa. Standard Chartered’s London shares were up XX per cent last night at XX pence. The shares are up more than seven per cent this year.