Dubai is seen as a growing financial hub for cross-border trade and investment, Viswanathan Shankar, the bank’s chief executive for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas, said in a recent interview with the Financial Times.
London-listed Standard Chartered, which is focused on emerging markets and has reported 10 consecutive years of profit, said trade income grew 22% last year.
According to Shankar, the bank’s position in the world is ideal for the sharp rise of non-western trading activity between emerging economic blocs. This activity, he said, can be seen in China’s trade with Africa, India’s with Africa, and that of Latin America with both India and Africa.
"Where there is trading growth, these are our markets," Shankar told the FT.
"We have spent time and effort building a trade and cash management platform focusing on cross-border income."
According to Shankar, the bank’s established position in sub-Saharan Africa has resulted in income growth of 25% in that region, as the world realises Africa’s potential for corporate growth and increased consumer spending.
Standard Chartered’s main rivals in Africa are seen as Barclays and Standard Bank, but Shankar said no other bank was better positioned than StanChart to exploit the continent’s growth story.
In the UAE, where Shankar is based, Standard Chartered staff numbers have increased fivefold, he reported.
The bank is a lender to Dubai, as it rebuilds its economy after the 2009 downturn. Shankar said the bank has plans to expand into Iraq, where security is seen to be improving.