Bank sees positives of Middle East upheaval

March 5, 2011 - 0:0
Turmoil in the Middle East is presenting both difficulties and opportunities, according to the head of one of Britain's biggest banks. Standard Chartered chief executive Peter Sands, whose bank operates in Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Jordan, Lebanon, and the UAE, said recent events had been a ""catalyst for change"". ""Part of it is a challenge,"" he told Jeff Randall Live. ""But part of it could actually be a good thing in that it could see these societies moving to another phase in terms of economic, political and social developments."" Mr Sands revealed that in 2010 his bank had seen a ""very significant increase in profit"" from its Middle Eastern business and was committed to further investment. ""We see ourselves as playing a constructive role in the economies and the societies in which we operate in the Middle East,"" he said. ""As a business we're used to change and things happening - it's part of what we've grown up with as a bank."" Although based in the UK, Standard Chartered has just 2% of its staff in Britain and generates 80% of its income from Asia and other emerging markets. Standard Chartered has a large presence in the Middle East, with a key hub in Dubai Yet Mr Sands told Sky News his bank was not planning to move out of London, which he said was still the premier international banking centre. The Standard Chartered boss was speaking on the day the bank announced an impressive set of results that showed it made £3.7bn in 2010 - up 19% on the year before. The company also revealed that it took on another 7,000 staff worldwide in 2010, a near 10% rise, giving it a payroll of 85,000. ""We've had eight years of record income and profits,"" Mr Sands said, adding he had told investors he was confident of delivering double-digit growth in 2011. (Source: Top of Form