StanChart CEO Says Few in Hong Kong Moved Money Abroad on Unrest
“Virtually none” of the wealthy people in Hong Kong who set up bank accounts outside the territory amid last year’s unrest actually moved money abroad, Bill Winters said in a Bloomberg Television interview.
“Hong Kong’s in good shape. It was a horrific six months. While the issues are as yet unresolved -- the idea that this is behind us would be hopeful, but naive -- peace is prevailing,” he said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Winters also said he had intended to travel next week to Wuhan, China, a city that has been locked down by authorities trying to halt the spread of a SARS-like virus. The “level of anxiety is very very high” about the outbreak among local Standard Chartered Plc staff, he said.
He also remarked:
- Hong Kong business activity, IPO calendar has stayed strong; hospitality sector “severely impacted;” city should “get back to normal over the course of this year”
- U.S.-China trade talks progress “encouraging” and “stopped cycle of escalation,” but structural issues are still there
- President Trump’s comments in Davos have been “quite targeted at the domestic audience”
- Sustainability theme at this year’s WEF, while impressive, has “crowded out some other very important discussions, like the challenges around inequality”
- Iraq-Iran-Saudi-U.S. issues have “possibility to explode,” but “that feels unlikely” amid willingness to de-escalate
- Germany is under a lot of pressure to spend, but “don’t know if they have internalized that yet”
- Repeats that negative interest rates are bad for banking system, create “quite dangerous” imbalances in markets
- Winters says he’d “never say mission accomplished” on his turnaround of StanChart, though bank is “super strong” with growth momentum in key segments
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