Mar 05 - Standard Chartered has reported its first drop in annual profit for a decade. And as Ciara Sutton reports it expects income and profits to remain ''challenged'' for a while longer thanks to its Asia-focus.
It's known as the emerging market bank - but a turbulent 2013 has ended a decade of growth. Standard Chartered's pretax profit was down 7 percent, and it says its income will remain under pressure in the first half of this year. Losses in Korea, weak investment banking income and a slowdown in Asia's growth are largely to blame. The London-listed bank makes 90 percent of its profit in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. And it must now prove it can regenerate strong profits as its keys markets slow down. Reuters Breakingviews Columnist, Geroge Hay. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS BREAKINGVIEWS COLUMNIST, GEORGE HAY, SAYING: "The critical point is that they are exposed to tapering. So if tapering goes against them, if the central bankers of the world get it wrong and money flows out of emerging markets, they are completely exposed to that. And there are things they can try and do to defend themselves, but ultimately their fate is in the lap of the central bankers." Standard Chartered has cut its bonus pool for last year by 15 percent, with the company's chief executive, Peter Sands' own bonus down 21 percent. Shares rose 3 percent after the results were announced, having tumbled 28 percent in the last year. The bank is already shrinking its business after higher loans losses in Korea. Hundreds of jobs are being axed to try and reverse the unwelcome change of fortunes.