Standard Chartered reviews financial comms brief

Global banking powerhouse Standard Chartered has initiated a review of its financial comms for the first time in a decade.

Asian influence: Standard Chartered's offices in Shanghai
Asian influence: Standard Chartered's offices in Shanghai

The London-listed banking group, one of the UK's 15 largest firms by market capitalisation, has kicked off a competitive pitch process after using City giant RLM Finsbury since 2002.

It is not thought an official RFP has yet been issued, but the bank has informed Finsbury of the move in recent weeks and discussions with other agencies have commenced on an informal basis.

Finsbury intends to repitch for the business.

Tim Baxter, Standard Chartered's London-based head of corporate comms, said that the review was 'good practice'. He added: 'Companies change over time and like many big firms we've built a strong in-house team over the past five years and the nature of support we need has probably changed.'

Many of the large City PR players already have international banking clients, but it is thought only those that are direct competitors in Standard Chartered's key markets would be seen as a conflict. Despite being headquartered in the UK, the group makes more than three-quarters of its profit in Asia.

Finsbury held the retained account for Lloyds Banking Group alongside Standard Chartered and three years ago replaced Lloyds with RBS.

Standard Chartered emerged from the financial downturn relatively unscathed, largely because of its concentration on Asia. However, within the past week it faced calls to cut executive pay after investor advisory group Pirc advised its members to vote down the bank's plans to pay out $92.1m (£56.6m) to its top 13 staff.

Standard Chartered's history dates back 150 years and it now has listings in London, Hong Kong and Mumbai and operates in 70 global markets.

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