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Stanchart to continue focus on wealth management in India

By Manojit Saha
February 27, 2024 15:33 IST
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Standard Chartered’s India strategy will focus on wealth management while credit card will remain core to its business though will avoid competition with the country’s private banks, said a senior executive of the British lender.


Photograph: Bobby Yip/Reuters

“Our focus on wealth management and affluent clients are central to our existence.

"We are strong in these areas and we want to grow in these areas.

"We cannot compete with the might of private banks in mass market business,” said Kusal Roy, head - consumer, private and business banking, Standard Chartered Bank, India.

“We have doubled revenues from the wealth management and affluent business in four years, that is, from 2020 onwards,” Roy told Business Standard in a conversation.


Standard Chartered Bank is present in 52 countries and India is its fifth largest market in terms of revenue from wealth management.

It is one of the largest foreign banks in India with 100 branches in 42 locations.

Wealth management and business banking, which give loans to the small and medium enterprises, are the company's major growth drivers in India.

“Our overall balance sheet is over Rs 100,000 crore, asset liability combined. We crossed the milestone in March 2023.

"We are growing at a significant clip; the growth has been fantastic since 2020,” said Roy, who has led Standard Chartered’s retail business in India for almost four years.

“There are 800,000 millionaires in this country which is expected to double by 2027,” said Roy citing a Credit Suisse Global Wealth Study report.

“We have 5000 ultra-high-net-worth individuals, which is defined as greater than $ 100 million of net worth.

That is also expected to increase very rapidly,” he said on the opportunity to cater the segment.

Roy, who earlier worked with Citi India, Barclays, ICICI Bank and Tata Capital, talked about the bank’s non-resident Indian (NRI) business which is growing at 40 per cent annually in revenue terms.

The business manages wealth and deposits for NRIs in Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai, and Bahrain.

“Our NR [non-resident] business has witnessed a good growth in the last two years in terms of revenue.

"We continue to expand our NR corridor presence and take advantage of our strong network across Asia and Africa.

"Our current NR corridors UAE, Bahrain, Singapore, and Kenya support us to acquire relationships each year.”

Standard Chartered and some other foreign lenders were once major players in credit card business in India.

In the last 10 years, the market was captured by Indian banks, mostly from the private sector – the likes of HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, SBI Card and Axis Bank, which acquired Citi’s retail business including credit cards last year. Last month, HDFC Bank crossed the milestone of crossing 20 million cards in force, a first among Indian banks.

Standard Chartered, which has issued about a million cards in India, realises it is not possible to compete with the India private banks with the kind of reach and network they possess.

“I think it is very difficult to compete with Indian private sector banks in products like this who are mass market players.

"Their customer base, their reach is very different – different order of magnitude,” Roy said.

At the same time, he says cards are core to Standard Chartered business in India because it is a key value proposition for the affluent segment.

“Cards is a core business for us though we are unlikely to book as many cards like private banks or build a book like them; it remains a core business because it is very central to the affluent clients,” he said.

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Manojit Saha
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