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StanChart CEO denies speculation of sale to Chinese lender

Standard Chartered PLC CEO Bill Winters denied speculation that the London-based bank may sell itself to a Chinese bank, saying the speculation is "completely misplaced," The Nikkei reported March 20.

Winters said the bank is in the middle of a restructuring and has the opportunity to improve its performance. As such, "to sell out of that right now to me would be a great, great shame," Winters said March 19 at the Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference in Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, the bank is aiming to lift its return on equity to above 8% in the medium term and build a sustainable business over a longer time horizon by focusing on affluent retail banking clients as a target market. Winters also noted that China's Belt and Road infrastructure initiative and the Chinese currency's internationalization are growth opportunities for the bank.

At the same event, Winters said the bank does not have "a compliance-related problem," after the company put Neil Barry, its head of compliance, on leave. His comments came after the bank's Singapore units were fined US$4.9 million by the Monetary Authority of Singapore over breaches of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing requirements. Winters did not comment on the fine.