green arrow left green arrow right

Risk review

Managing risk responsibly

Gareth Bullock

“The Group has taken pre-emptive action to reshape the portfolio, tighten underwriting standards and increase the frequency of risk monitoring and stress testing in anticipation of a downturn.”

Gareth Bullock, Group executive director

Risk profile

Principal risks and uncertainties

Except where indicated (#) the following Risk review is a part of the audited financial statements.

Risk overview#

2008 was a turbulent year in global financial markets. Despite this volatility, the Group’s balance sheet and liquidity position remained strong and Standard Chartered is prepared to deal with the challenges arising from global recessionary conditions. The Group has taken pre-emptive action to reshape the portfolio, tighten underwriting standards and increase the frequency of risk monitoring and stress testing. These actions will not immunise the Group from the effects of a cyclical downturn in its core markets, but should mitigate their impact.

The Group’s position at the end of 2008 is marked by several key factors. The Group has low exposure to higher-risk asset classes, and has maintained vigilance and discipline in responding to the challenging environment. It also has a diversified portfolio across countries, products and customer segments; disciplined liquidity management; a well-established risk governance structure; and an experienced senior team.

As a result of its focused strategy, Standard Chartered has low exposure to asset classes and segments outside of its core markets and target customer base. The Group has no mass market business in the US, UK and Europe. Exposure to securitised assets, leveraged loans, commercial real estate and hedge funds is low.

Standard Chartered has been disciplined in its management of risk. The Group has increased its focus on the inter-relationships between risk types and, where deemed appropriate, underwriting standards have been tightened. It has also conducted periodic reviews of risk exposure limits and risk control disciplines in anticipation of a global economic downturn. In the face of financial market turbulence, exposures to financial institutions have been subject to close and continuous review. To ensure the Group is prepared for a higher level of market volatility and economic uncertainty the Group regularly subjects its exposures to a range of stress tests across a wide range of products and customer segments at country, business and Group level. The stress testing exercises address different types of risk and cover the impact of specific shocks as well as a downturn in macroeconomic factors.

The Group’s lending portfolio is diversified across a wide range of products, industries and customer segments, which serves to mitigate risk. The Group operates in over 70 countries and there is no single country which accounts for more than 20 per cent of loans and advances to customers, or operating income.

The Group’s liquidity has been further strengthened by good inflows of customer deposits, resulting in a strong advances-to-deposit ratio. Liquidity will continue to be deployed to support growth opportunities in Standard Chartered’s chosen markets. The Group manages its liquidity prudently in all geographical locations and for all currencies, and continues to be a net provider of liquidity to the interbank money markets.

The Group benefits from a well-established risk governance structure and an experienced senior team. Senior level membership of risk committees ensures that risk oversight is a critical focus for all of the Group’s directors, while substantial common membership between risk committees helps the Group to address the inter-relationships between risk types.

The Group invested considerable effort preparing for the introduction of the Basel II capital adequacy framework by refining analytical tools, ensuring data quality, improving data infrastructure and strengthening processes. These enhanced capabilities and the resultant management information are being leveraged to inform further the Group’s business, risk and capital management decisions.

Risk performance review#

For much of 2008, the credit environment remained broadly stable in most of the Group’s core markets. However, towards the end of the year there were signs of strain appearing in some of those markets as the global financial crisis began to adversely affect economic activity.

In Consumer Banking, portfolio delinquencies and loan impairment charges remained consistent with normal performance given the Group’s product mix and the maturity profile of the portfolios. However, in the fourth quarter there was an increase in delinquency rates in certain portfolios. In countries such as India, Malaysia and UAE, which have seen rapid growth in consumer debt over the last few years, impairment rates in unsecured products such as Cards and Personal Loans began to increase. There was an increase in impairment rates of unsecured portfolios in Hong Kong and Korea, driven by a rise in personal bankruptcy petitions. The performance of small and medium enterprises (SME) portfolios in Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan and China has deteriorated as economic activity has slowed. The performance of Residential Mortgages remained stable.

The Wholesale Banking portfolio remained sound. Problem credits and consequent impairment charges increased in the fourth quarter from historical lows but still remain below cyclical averages. Recoveries and releases continued to be achieved albeit at lower levels than in 2007 due to a lower stock of problem accounts. The increase in impairment charges can be partly attributed to the cyclical slowdown being experienced in some countries, particularly in the manufacturing sector. In addition, the unusual levels of volatility in financial markets have resulted in a limited number of customer defaults and disputes related to derivative contracts. The impact of financial institution failures to date has been limited.

Severe dislocation of the asset backed securities (ABS) market continued to affect the Group’s ABS portfolio. A framework is in place to identify and proactively manage ABS assets that show signs of stress. The overall quality of the ABS book remains good with no direct US sub-prime, and minimal Alt-A, exposures. The net exposure to ABS represents less than one per cent of total Group assets and had limited impact on the Group’s performance.

Market risk is tightly monitored using Value at Risk (VaR) methodologies complemented by sensitivity measures, gross nominal limits and management action triggers at a detailed portfolio level. This is supplemented with extensive stress testing which takes account of more extreme price movements. VaR rose in 2008 primarily as a consequence of increased market volatility across global markets.

The integration of American Express Bank into the Group’s risk control frameworks and processes is now well under way and is progressing to plan.

Since 1 January 2008, for the purposes of reporting to the Financial Services Authority (FSA), the Group has been using the advanced Internal Ratings Based (IRB) approach under the Basel II regulatory framework to calculate credit risk capital for the vast majority of its assets globally. Although the FSA’s approval covers the Group’s global operations, in several jurisdictions the Group is required to apply separately to adopt advanced IRB approaches for local reporting. Wherever the Group has chosen to do this to date the application has been successful.

Principal risks and uncertainties#

Standard Chartered is in the business of taking risk and the Group seeks to contain and mitigate those risks to ensure they remain within the Group’s risk appetite and are adequately compensated. However, risks are by their nature uncertain and the management of risk relies on judgements and predictions about the future.

The key risks and uncertainties faced by the Group in the coming year are set out below. This should not be regarded as a complete and comprehensive statement of all potential risks and uncertainties that the Group may experience.

Macroeconomic conditions in footprint countries

The Group’s principal risks and uncertainties arise from slowing economic growth in the major countries in its footprint and the various uncertainties surrounding global financial markets in 2009. The Group operates in many countries and is affected by the prevailing economic conditions in each.

Macroeconomic conditions have an impact on personal expenditure and consumption; demand for business products and services; the debt service burden of consumers and businesses; the general availability of credit for retail and corporate borrowers; and the availability of capital and liquidity funding for the Group. All these factors may impact the performance of the Group.

One of the principal uncertainties is the extent to which the economic downturn currently being experienced in Western markets will feed through to the Group’s major Asian and Middle Eastern markets. The linkages between economic activity in different markets are complex and depend not only on factors such as the balance of trade and investment between countries, but also on domestic monetary, fiscal and other policy responses to address macroeconomic conditions.

The Group monitors economic trends in its markets very closely and continuously reviews the suitability of its risk policies and controls.

Changes in government and regulatory policy

A key uncertainty for the Group relates to the way in which governments and regulators will adjust their economic policies, laws and regulations in response to macroeconomic and other systemic conditions. Such changes may be wide-ranging and influence the volatility and liquidity of financial markets, as well as the ability and willingness of customers to repay their loans. These effects may directly or indirectly impact the Group’s financial performance. For example, history has shown that changes in bankruptcy laws may affect customers’ willingness to repay. Standard Chartered plays an active role, through its participation in industry forums, in the development of relevant laws and regulatory policies in its key markets.

Financial markets dislocation

Continued volatility and dislocation affecting financial markets and asset classes may also affect the Group’s performance over the coming year. These factors may have an impact on the mark-to-market valuations of assets in the Group’s available-for-sale and trading portfolios; while any further deterioration in the performance of the assets underlying the Group’s ABS portfolio could lead to additional impairment. The continued market volatility may also negatively impact certain customers exposed to derivative contracts. While the Group has a robust customer suitability and appropriateness process in place, the potential losses incurred by certain customers as a result of derivative contracts could lead to an increase in customer disputes and corporate defaults.

Instability in the financial services industry

The availability of liquidity and capital to financial institutions represents a material counterparty risk. Availability depends on the underlying strength and performance of each institution and, just as importantly, on the market perception of that institution at any given point in time. It remains possible that some institutions will experience tighter liquidity conditions. Government action has reduced the systemic risk, but the impact on the financial services industry of ongoing uncertainty in the broader economic environment means that the risk nevertheless remains. The Group continues to monitor closely the performance of its financial institutions customers and counterparties, taking action to mitigate risks as appropriate.

Reduced access to funding

Liquidity risk is the risk that the Group either does not have sufficient financial resources available to meet all its obligations and commitments as they fall due, or can access funding only at excessive cost. Exceptional market events can impact the Group adversely, thereby affecting the Group’s ability to fulfil its obligations as they fall due. The principal uncertainties for liquidity risk are that customers withdraw their deposits at a substantially faster rate than expected, or that asset repayments are not received on the intended maturity date. The Group manages its liquidity prudently in all geographical locations and for all currencies. Standard Chartered has a customer deposit base diversified both by type and maturity, and a low dependence on wholesale funding. It also holds a portfolio of liquid assets which can be realised if a liquidity stress event occurs.

Exchange rates

Changes in exchange rates affect, among other things, the value of the Group’s assets and liabilities denominated in foreign currencies, as well as the earnings reported by the Group’s non-US dollar denominated branches and subsidiaries. The effect of exchange rate movements on the capital adequacy ratio is mitigated by corresponding movements in risk weighted assets. Under certain circumstances, the Group may take the decision to hedge its foreign exchange exposures in order to protect the Group’s capital ratios from the effects of changes in exchange rates.

There have been significant movements in currency exchange rates in some of the Group’s key markets over the past year and Standard Chartered expects to continue to be exposed to such fluctuations in the coming year. The table below sets out the period end and average currency exchange rates per US dollar for India, Korea and Singapore for 31 December 2007 and 31 December 2008.

Year ended
31.12.08
Year ended
31.12.07
Indian rupee
Average 43.50 41.08
Period end 48.65 39.39
Korean won
Average 1,101.82 928.24
Period end 1,259.91 936.31
Singapore dollar
Average 1.42 1.51
Period end 1.44 1.44

As a result of its normal business operations, Standard Chartered is exposed to a broader range of risks than those principal risks mentioned above, and the Group’s approach to managing risk is detailed below.

Risk management

The management of risk lies at the heart of Standard Chartered’s business. One of the main risks the Group incurs arises from extending credit to customers through its trading and lending operations. Beyond credit risk, it is also exposed to a range of other risk types such as country, market, liquidity, operational, regulatory, pension and reputational risks which are inherent to Standard Chartered’s strategy, product range and geographical coverage

Risk management framework

Effective risk management is fundamental to being able to generate profits consistently and sustainably – and is thus a central part of the financial and operational management of the Group.

Through its risk management framework the Group manages enterprise-wide risks, with the objective of maximising risk-adjusted returns while remaining within its risk appetite.

As part of this framework, the Group uses a set of principles that describe the risk management culture the Group wishes to sustain:

The following diagram illustrates the high level risk committee structure:

Group risk committee structure

Risk governance

Ultimate responsibility for setting the Group’s risk appetite and for the effective management of risk rests with the board of Standard Chartered PLC (the board). Executive responsibility for risk management is delegated to the Standard Chartered Bank court (the court) which comprises the Group executive directors and other directors of Standard Chartered Bank.

The Group Asset and Liability Committee (GALCO), through its authority delegated by the court, is responsible for the management of capital ratios and the establishment of, and compliance with, policies relating to balance sheet management, including management of the Group’s liquidity, capital adequacy and structural foreign exchange rate risk. The Group Pensions Executive Committee, through its authority delegated by the court, is responsible for the management of pension risk.

The Group Risk Committee (GRC), through its authority delegated by the court, is responsible for the management of all other risks, including the establishment of, and compliance with, policies relating to credit risk, country risk, market risk, operational risk, regulatory risk and reputational risk. The GRC is also responsible for defining the Group’s overall risk management framework.

Members of the court are also members of both the GRC and GALCO. The GRC is chaired by the Group chief risk officer (GCRO). The GALCO is chaired by the Group finance director.

Acting within an authority delegated by the board, the Audit and Risk Committee (ARC), whose members are all non-executive directors of the Company, reviews specific risk areas and monitors the activities of the GRC and GALCO. The ARC receives regular reports on risk management, including the Group’s portfolio trends, policies and standards, adherence with internal controls, regulatory compliance, liquidity and capital adequacy, and is authorised to investigate or seek any information relating to an activity within its terms of reference.

The committee governance structure ensures that risk-taking authority and risk management policies are cascaded down through the organisation from the board through to the appropriate functional, divisional and country-level committees. Information regarding material risk issues and compliance with policies and standards is communicated through the country, business and functional committees up to the Group-level committees.

Risk limits and risk exposure approval authority frameworks are set by the GRC in respect of credit risk, country risk and market risk. The GALCO sets the approval authority framework in respect of liquidity risk. Risk approval authorities may be exercised by risk committees or authorised individuals.

Business governance and functional heads are accountable for risk management in their businesses and functions, and for countries where they have governance responsibilities. This includes:

The GCRO chairs the GRC and is a member of the Group Management Committee. The GCRO directly manages a risk function which is separate from the origination, trading and sales functions of the businesses. Chief risk officers for both the Wholesale and Consumer Banking businesses have their primary reporting lines into the GCRO. Country chief risk officers take overall responsibility for risk within the Group’s principal countries.

The Risk function performs the following core activities:

The Group’s Risk Management Framework (RMF) identifies the risk types to which the Group is exposed, each of which is controlled by a designated risk type owner (RTO). The major risk types are described individually in the sections below. The RTOs, who are all approved persons under the FSA regulatory framework, have responsibility for establishing minimum standards and for implementing governance and assurance processes. The RTOs report up through specialist risk committees to the GRC or GALCO.

Group Internal Audit is a separate Group function that reports to the chairman of the ARC and to the Group chief executive officer. It provides independent confirmation of compliance with Group and business standards, policies and procedures. Where necessary, it will recommend corrective action to restore or maintain such standards.

Risk policy framework

Risk policy framework See details

Risk appetite

Risk appetite is an expression of the amount of risk the Group is willing to take in pursuit of its strategic objectives. Risk appetite reflects the Group’s capacity to sustain potential losses arising from a range of potential outcomes under different stress scenarios.

The Group defines its risk appetite in terms of both volatility of earnings and the maintenance of minimum regulatory capital requirements under stress scenarios.

The Group’s risk profile is assessed through a ‘bottom-up’ analytical approach covering all of the Group’s major businesses, countries and products. The risk appetite is approved by the board and forms the basis for establishing the risk parameters within which the businesses must operate, including policies, concentration limits and business mix.

The GRC is responsible for ensuring that the Group’s risk profile is managed in compliance with the risk appetite set by the board.

Stress testing

Stress testing and scenario analysis are used to assess the financial and management capability of the Group to continue operating effectively under extreme but plausible trading conditions. Such conditions may arise from economic, legal, political, environmental and social factors.

The Group has a stress testing framework designed to:

A stress testing forum is led by the Risk function with participation from the businesses, Group Finance and Group Treasury. Its primary objective is to ensure that the Group understands the earnings and capital implications of specific stress scenarios. The stress testing forum generates and considers pertinent and plausible scenarios that have the potential to affect the Group adversely.

In view of recent market turbulence, stress testing activity has been intensified at country, business and Group levels, with specific focus on certain asset classes, customer segments and the potential impact of macroeconomic factors. Stress tests have taken into consideration possible future scenarios that could arise as a result of the development of prevailing market conditions.

Business stress testing themes such as high inflation, low inflation or declines in asset values are co-ordinated by the stress testing forum to ensure consistency of impacts on different risk types or countries. Specific stress tests for country or risk type are also performed. Examples of risk type stress testing are covered in the section on Market risk.

Stress testing framework

Credit risk

Credit risk is the risk that the counterparty to a financial transaction will fail to discharge an obligation, resulting in financial loss to the Group. Credit exposures may arise from both the banking book and the trading book.

Credit risk is managed through a framework which sets out policies and procedures covering the measurement and management of credit risk. There is a clear segregation of duties between transaction originators in the businesses and approvers in the Risk function. All credit exposure limits are approved within a defined credit approval authority framework.

Credit policies

Group-wide credit policies and standards are considered and approved by the GRC, which also oversees the delegation of credit approval and loan impairment provisioning authorities.

Policies and procedures that are specific to each business are established by authorised risk committees within Wholesale and Consumer Banking. These are consistent with the Group-wide credit policies, but are more detailed and adapted to reflect the different risk environments and portfolio characteristics.

Credit rating and measurement

Risk measurement plays a central role, along with judgement and experience, in informing risk-taking and portfolio management decisions. It is a primary target for sustained investment and senior management attention.

A standard alphanumeric credit risk-grading system is used in both Wholesale and Consumer Banking. The grading is based on the Group’s internal estimate of probability of default, with customers or portfolios assessed against a range of quantitative and qualitative factors. The numeric grades run from one to 14 and the grades are sub-classified A, B or C. Lower credit grades are indicative of a lower likelihood of default. Credit grades 1A to 12C are assigned to performing customers or accounts, while credit grades 13 and 14 are assigned to non-performing or defaulted customers.

There is no direct relationship between the Group’s internal credit grades and those used by external rating agencies. The Group’s credit grades are not intended to replicate external credit grades although, as the factors used to grade a borrower may be similar, a borrower rated poorly by an external rating agency is typically rated in the lower rank of the Group’s internal credit grades.

Credit grades for the majority of consumer accounts are based on a probability of default calculated using advanced IRB models. These models are based on application and behavioural scorecards which make use of credit bureau information as well as the Group’s own data. For Consumer Banking portfolios where IRB models have not yet been developed, the probability of default is calculated by the Risk function using historical portfolio delinquency flow rates and judgement, where applicable.

Advanced IRB models cover a substantial majority of the Group’s loans and are used extensively in assessing risks at customer and portfolio level, setting strategy and optimising the Group’s risk-return decisions.

Risk measurement models are approved by the responsible risk committee, on the recommendation of the Group Model Assessment Committee (MAC). The MAC supports risk committees in ensuring risk identification and measurement capabilities are objective and consistent, so that risk control and risk origination decisions are properly informed. Prior to review by the MAC, all IRB models are validated in detail by a model validation team, which is separate from the teams which develop and maintain the models. Models undergo a detailed review at least annually. Such reviews are also triggered if the performance of a model deteriorates materially.

Credit approval

Major credit exposures to individual counterparties, groups of connected counterparties and portfolios of retail exposures are reviewed and approved by the Group Credit Committee (GCC). The GCC derives its authority from the GRC.

All other credit approval authorities are delegated by the GRC to individuals based on their judgement and experience, and based on a risk-adjusted scale which takes account of the estimated maximum potential loss from a given customer or portfolio. Credit origination and approval roles are segregated in all but a very few authorised cases. In those very few exceptions where they are not, originators can only approve limited exposures within defined risk parameters.

Concentration risk

Credit concentration risk is managed within concentration caps set by counterparty or groups of connected counterparties, by industry sector and country in Wholesale Banking; and by product and country in Consumer Banking. Additional targets are set and monitored for concentrations by credit rating.

Credit concentrations are monitored by the responsible risk committees in each of the businesses and concentration limits that are material to the Group are reviewed and approved at least annually by the GCC.

Credit monitoring

The Group regularly monitors credit exposures and external trends which may impact risk management outcomes.

Internal risk management reports are presented to risk committees, containing information on key environmental, political and economic trends across major portfolios and countries; portfolio delinquency and loan impairment performance; as well as IRB portfolio metrics including migration across credit grades.

In Wholesale Banking, accounts or portfolios are placed on Early Alert when they display signs of weakness or financial deterioration, for example, where there is a decline in the customer’s position within the industry, a breach of covenants, non-performance of an obligation, or there are issues relating to ownership or management.

Such accounts and portfolios are subjected to a dedicated process overseen by Group Special Assets Management (GSAM), the specialist recovery unit. Account plans are re-evaluated and remedial actions are agreed and monitored. Remedial actions include, but are not limited to, exposure reduction, security enhancement, exit of the account or immediate movement of the account into the control of GSAM.

In Consumer Banking, portfolio delinquency trends are monitored continuously at a detailed level. Individual customer behaviour is also tracked and informs lending decisions. Accounts which are past due are subject to a collections process, managed independently by the Risk function. Charged-off accounts are managed by a specialist recovery team. In some countries, aspects of collections and recovery functions are outsourced. Medium enterprise and private banking past due accounts are managed by GSAM.

The SME business is managed within Consumer Banking in two distinct segments: small businesses and medium enterprises, differentiated by the annual turnover of the counterparty. Medium enterprise accounts are monitored in line with Wholesale Banking procedures, while small business accounts are monitored in line with other Consumer Banking accounts.

Credit mitigation

Potential credit losses from any given account, customer or portfolio are mitigated using a range of tools such as collateral, credit insurance, credit derivatives and other guarantees. The reliance that can be placed on these mitigants is carefully assessed in light of issues such as legal enforceability, market value and counterparty risk of the guarantor.

Collateral types which are eligible for risk mitigation include: cash; residential, commercial and industrial property; fixed assets such as motor vehicles, aircraft, plant and machinery; marketable securities; commodities; bank guarantees; and letters of credit. The Group also enters into collateralised reverse repurchase agreements. Risk mitigation policies control the approval of collateral types.

Collateral is valued in accordance with the Group’s risk mitigation policy, which prescribes the frequency of valuation for different collateral types. The valuation frequency is driven by the level of price volatility of each type of collateral and the nature of the underlying product or risk exposure. Collateral held against impaired loans is maintained at fair value.

Certain credit exposures are mitigated using credit default insurance.

Where appropriate, credit derivatives are used to reduce credit risks in the portfolio. Due to their potential impact on income volatility, such derivatives are used in a controlled manner with reference to their expected volatility.

Traded products

Credit risk from traded products is managed within the overall credit risk appetite for corporates and financial institutions.

The credit risk exposure from traded products is derived from the positive mark-to-market value of the underlying instruments, and an additional component to cater for potential market movements.

For derivative contracts, the Group limits its exposure to credit losses in the event of default by entering into master netting agreements with certain counterparties. As required by IAS 32, exposures are not presented net in the financial statements, as in the ordinary course of business they are not intended to be settled net.

In addition, the Group enters into Credit Support Annexes (CSA) with counterparties where collateral is deemed a necessary or desirable mitigant to the exposure. Under a variation margin process, additional collateral is called from the counterparty if total uncollateralised mark-to-market exposure exceeds the threshold and minimum transfer amount specified in the CSA. With certain counterparties, the CSA is bilateral and requires the Group to post collateral if the overall mark-to-market value of positions is in the counterparty’s favour and exceeds an agreed threshold.

Securities

Within Wholesale Banking, the Underwriting Committee approves the portfolio limits and parameters by business unit for the underwriting and purchase of all pre-defined securities assets to be held for sale. The Underwriting Committee is established under the authority of the GRC. The business operates within set limits, which include country, single issuer, holding period and credit grade limits.

Day-to-day credit risk management activities for traded securities are carried out by Traded Credit Risk Management whose activities include oversight and approval of temporary excesses within the levels delegated by the Underwriting Committee. Issuer credit risk, including settlement and pre-settlement risk, is controlled by Wholesale Banking Credit Risk, while price risk is controlled by Group Market Risk.

The Underwriting Committee approves individual proposals for the underwriting of new corporate security issues. Where an underwritten security is held for a period longer than the target sell-down period, decision-making authority on the sale price moves to the Risk function.

Loan portfolio

Loans and advances to customers have grown by $21.5 billion to $178.5 billion.

Compared to 2007, the Consumer Banking portfolio in 2008 has declined by $1.6 billion mainly due to currency depreciation in Korea, Malaysia, India and Pakistan.

The mortgage portfolios in Singapore and Hong Kong have grown by $1.4 billion and $1.1 billion respectively, driven by customer refinancing due to competitive pricing and focused sales targeting at wealth management customers. In Korea, the mortgage portfolio grew by two per cent in local currency terms, although the significant depreciation of the Korean won during 2008 led to an overall reduction in the value of the portfolio of $5.5 billion, or 24 per cent.

Growth in the Wholesale Banking customer portfolio was $23.2 billion, or 31 per cent. Over 18 per cent of that growth was in Other Asia Pacific, widely spread across a number of countries. The growth in Americas, UK and Europe was driven by an increase in credit facilities extended to customers to support the business they do elsewhere in the Group’s network.

Exposures to banks grew by 27 per cent. This reflects the Group’s strong liquidity position, with much of that liquidity placed with high quality bank counterparties. The growth was primarily in Asia Pacific.

Single borrower concentration risk has been mitigated by active distribution of assets to banks and institutional investors, some of which is achieved through credit-default swaps and synthetic risk transfer structures.

The Wholesale Banking portfolio remains well diversified across both geography and industry, with no significant concentration within the industry classifications of Manufacturing; Financing, insurance and business services; Commerce; or Transport, storage and communication.

2008
Asia Pacific
Hong Kong
$million
Singapore
$million
Malaysia
$million
Korea
$million
Other Asia Pacific
$million
India
$million
Middle East & Other S Asia
$million
Africa
$million
Americas, UK & Europe
$million
Total
$million
Loans to individuals
Mortgages 12,977 6,044 2,114 17,120 6,672 1,447 891 171 131 47,567
Other 2,826 3,529 1,077 4,383 4,312 910 2,742 564 1,106 21,449
Small and medium enterprises 1,288 1,754 842 3,603 1,818 1,093 710 170 370 11,648
Consumer Banking 17,091 11,327 4,033 25,106 12,802 3,450 4,343 905 1,607 80,664
Agriculture, forestry and fishing 27 65 41 34 152 34 106 383 562 1,404
Construction 142 81 41 367 383 305 823 40 143 2,325
Commerce 2,150 2,685 397 964 3,136 749 4,150 725 2,395 17,351
Electricity, gas and water 453 15 79 93 453 34 242 71 1,246 2,686
Financing, insurance and business services 3,455 2,303 418 427 2,570 533 3,329 453 12,075 25,563
Governments 366 2,240 1,240 383 26 427 4,682
Mining and quarrying 355 1 26 173 104 257 194 4,710 5,820
Manufacturing 2,756 1,153 534 3,475 7,332 2,255 1,864 598 4,892 24,859
Commercial real estate 1,353 1,265 3 787 1,242 332 526 10 839 6,357
Transport, storage and communication 470 366 190 356 731 121 1,218 220 2,113 5,785
Other 168 415 8 217 395 12 319 48 85 1,667
Wholesale Banking 10,974 9,069 3,952 6,746 17,807 4,479 13,217 2,768 29,487 98,499
Portfolio impairment provision (61) (47) (30) (89) (198) (66) (84) (31) (45) (651)
Total loans and advances to customers 28,004 20,349 7,955 31,763 30,411 7,863 17,476 3,642 31,049 178,512
Total loans and advances to banks 18,963 9,283 411 1,594 4,790 291 1,504 587 10,523 47,946

Total loans and advances to customers include $4,334 million held at fair value through profit or loss. Total loans and advances to banks include $1,363 million held at fair value through profit or loss.

2007
Asia Pacific
Hong Kong
$million
Singapore
$million
Malaysia
$million
Korea
$million
Other Asia Pacific
$million
India
$million
Middle East & Other
S Asia
$million
Africa
$million
Americas, UK & Europe
$million
Total
$million
Loans to individuals
Mortgages 11,845 4,615 2,441 22,634 6,333 1,638 493 254 120 50,373
Other 2,288 1,396 1,002 4,712 3,929 1,208 2,829 615 170 18,149
Small and medium enterprises 1,188 1,687 828 5,937 2,375 920 660 143 2 13,740
Consumer Banking 15,321 7,698 4,271 33,283 12,637 3,766 3,982 1,012 292 82,262
Agriculture, forestry and fishing 16 163 102 26 186 51 193 335 529 1,601
Construction 111 35 38 204 246 225 487 48 27 1,421
Commerce 1,865 2,094 369 434 2,510 722 2,430 703 1,758 12,885
Electricity, gas and water 550 76 45 176 352 9 411 277 883 2,779
Financing, insurance and business services 2,129 1,858 606 910 2,276 566 1,517 227 4,540 14,629
Governments 3,220 3,941 8 26 341 8 265 7,809
Mining and quarrying 31 8 93 159 65 238 138 2,722 3,454
Manufacturing 1,908 701 453 3,533 5,896 1,789 1,524 374 3,727 19,905
Commercial real estate 1,050 675 3 1,094 995 364 99 8 10 4,298
Transport, storage and communication 313 323 209 124 680 137 709 196 1,660 4,351
Other 148 338 7 424 268 18 796 22 102 2,123
Wholesale Banking 8,090 9,514 5,781 7,026 13,594 3,946 8,745 2,336 16,223 75,255
Portfolio impairment provision (47) (40) (25) (80) (182) (56) (81) (18) (6) (535)
Total loans and advances to customers 23,364 17,172 10,027 40,229 26,049 7,656 12,646 3,330 16,509 156,982
Total loans and advances to banks 15,156 2,531 928 1,504 4,866 552 1,406 371 10,365 37,679

Total loans and advances to customers include $2,716 million held at fair value through profit or loss. Total loans and advances to banks include $2,314 million held at fair value through profit or loss.

Maturity analysis

Approximately 52 per cent of the Group’s loans and advances to customers are short-term, having a contractual maturity of one year or less. The Wholesale Banking portfolio is predominantly short-term, with 72 per cent of loans and advances having a contractual maturity of one year or less. In Consumer Banking, 59 per cent of the portfolio is in the mortgage book, traditionally longer-term in nature and well secured. Whilst the Other and SME loans in Consumer Banking have short contractual maturities, typically they may be renewed and repaid over longer terms in the normal course of business.

The following tables show the maturity of loans and advances to customers by each principal category of borrower’s business or industry:

2008
One year
or less
$million
One to
five years
$million
Over
five years
$million
Total
$million
Loans to individuals
Mortgages 2,357 6,883 38,327 47,567
Other 11,575 7,118 2,756 21,449
Small and medium enterprises 6,780 2,653 2,215 11,648
Consumer Banking 20,712 16,654 43,298 80,664
Agriculture, forestry and fishing 1,008 259 137 1,404
Construction 1,943 356 26 2,325
Commerce 15,732 1,477 142 17,351
Electricity, gas and water 1,108 345 1,233 2,686
Financing, insurance and business services 19,057 6,026 480 25,563
Governments 4,476 43 163 4,682
Mining and quarrying 3,238 1,449 1,133 5,820
Manufacturing 18,300 5,293 1,266 24,859
Commercial real estate 2,186 4,064 107 6,357
Transport, storage and communication 2,988 1,743 1,054 5,785
Other 1,271 337 59 1,667
Wholesale Banking 71,307 21,392 5,800 98,499
Portfolio impairment provision (651)
178,512
2007
One year
or less
$million
One to
five years
$million
Over
five years
$million
Total
$million
Loans to individuals
Mortgages 3,490 8,027 38,856 50,373
Other 8,941 7,325 1,883 18,149
Small and medium enterprises 8,028 3,494 2,218 13,740
Consumer Banking 20,459 18,846 42,957 82,262
Agriculture, forestry and fishing 1,332 227 42 1,601
Construction 1,128 249 44 1,421
Commerce 11,585 1,066 234 12,885
Electricity, gas and water 1,727 398 654 2,779
Financing, insurance and business services 12,073 2,054 502 14,629
Governments 7,618 86 105 7,809
Mining and quarrying 1,515 1,029 910 3,454
Manufacturing 15,603 3,128 1,174 19,905
Commercial real estate 2,761 1,510 27 4,298
Transport, storage and communication 2,373 980 998 4,351
Other 1,704 348 71 2,123
Wholesale Banking 59,419 11,075 4,761 75,255
Portfolio impairment provision (535)
156,982

Problem credit management and provisioning
Consumer Banking

Within Consumer Banking an account is considered to be delinquent when payment is not received on the due date. For delinquency reporting purposes the Group follows industry standards, measuring delinquency as of 1, 30, 60, 90, 120 and 150 days past due. Accounts that are overdue by more than 30 days are more closely monitored and subject to specific collections processes.

The process used for raising individual impairment provisions (IIP) is dependent on the product. For unsecured products and loans secured by automobiles, individual provisions are raised for the entire outstanding amount at 150 days past due. For mortgages, IIP are generally raised at 150 days past due based on the difference between the outstanding amount of the loan, and the present value of the estimated future cash flows which includes the realisation of collateral. For other secured loans (excluding those secured by mortgage and automobiles), IIP are raised at 90 days past due based on the forced sale value of the collateral without further discounting, as the collateral value is typically realised in less than 12 months. For all products there are certain situations where the individual impairment provisioning process is accelerated, such as in cases involving bankruptcy, fraud and death.

A portfolio impairment provision (PIP) is held to cover the inherent risk of losses which, although not specifically identified, are known through experience to be present in the loan portfolio. PIP is calculated with reference to past flow-rate and recovery rate experience, and is adjusted to take account of a number of forward-looking factors. These include the economic and business environment in the Group’s markets, and trends in a range of portfolio indicators such as portfolio loss severity, collections and recovery performance trends.

The procedures for managing problem credits for the medium enterprises in the SME segment of Consumer Banking are similar to those adopted in Wholesale Banking (described below). For unsecured loans to small businesses within the SME segment, the problem credit management process is similar to that of other unsecured products in Consumer Banking.

Non-performing loans are loans past due by more than 90 days or that are otherwise individually impaired. The cover ratio reflects the extent to which the gross non-performing loans are covered by the individual and portfolio impairment provisions.

The table below sets out the total non-performing loans in Consumer Banking, which includes $543 million (2007: $655 million) of individual impairment provisions. The increase in the non-performing loans reflects the deterioration in delinquency rates in certain portfolios in the fourth quarter of 2008.

2008
Asia Pacific
Hong Kong
$million
Singapore
$million
Malaysia
$million
Korea
$million
Other Asia Pacific
$million
India
$million
Middle East & Other S Asia
$million
Africa
$million
Americas, UK & Europe
$million
Total
$million
Loans and advances                    
Gross non-performing 85 65 164 287 437 49 170 35 95 1,387
Individual impairment provision (39) (18) (41) (76) (250) (10) (71) (12) (26) (543)
Non-performing loans net of individual impairment provision 46 47 123 211 187 39 99 23 69 844
Portfolio impairment provision (449)
Net non-performing loans and advances 395
Cover ratio 72%
2007
Asia Pacific
Hong Kong
$million
Singapore
$million
Malaysia
$million
Korea
$million
Other Asia Pacific
$million
India
$million
Middle East & Other S Asia
$million
Africa
$million
Americas, UK & Europe
$million
Total
$million
Loans and advances                    
Gross non-performing 65 61 166 336 475 56 126 38 1 1,324
Individual impairment provision (24) (26) (38) (125) (329) (19) (75) (18) (1) (655)
Non-performing loans net of individual impairment provision 41 35 128 211 146 37 51 20 669
Portfolio impairment provision (412)
Net non-performing loans and advances 257
Cover ratio 81%

The tables below set out the net impairment charge by geographic segment:

2008
Asia Pacific
Hong Kong
$million
Singapore
$million
Malaysia
$million
Korea
$million
Other Asia Pacific
$million
India
$million
Middle East & Other S Asia
$million
Africa
$million
Americas, UK & Europe
$million
Total
$million
Gross impairment charge 135 39 85 165 357 110 197 27 64 1,179
Recoveries/provisions no longer required (37) (26) (43) (16) (87) (28) (25) (11) (8) (281)
Net individual impairment charge 98 13 42 149 270 82 172 16 56 898
Portfolio impairment provision charge 39
Net impairment charge 937
2007
Asia Pacific
Hong Kong
$million
Singapore
$million
Malaysia
$million
Korea
$million
Other Asia Pacific
$million
India
$million
Middle East & Other S Asia
$million
Africa
$million
Americas, UK & Europe
$million
Total
$million
Gross impairment charge 98 45 108 114 468 91 153 23 1,100
Recoveries/provisions no longer required (42) (31) (63) (18) (95) (26) (39) (9) (323)
Net individual impairment charge 56 14 45 96 373 65 114 14 777
Portfolio impairment provision release (41)
Net impairment charge 736

Wholesale Banking

Loans are classified as impaired and considered non-performing where analysis and review indicates that full payment of either interest or principal is questionable, or as soon as payment of interest or principal is 90 days overdue. Impaired accounts are managed by GSAM, which is separate from the main businesses of the Group. Where any amount is considered irrecoverable, an individual impairment provision is raised, being the difference between the loan carrying amount and the present value of estimated future cash flows.

Future cash flows are estimated by taking into account the individual circumstances of each customer and can arise from operations, sales of assets or subsidiaries, realisation of collateral, or payments under guarantees. Cash flows from all available sources are considered. In any decision relating to the raising of provisions, the Group attempts to balance economic conditions, local knowledge and experience, and the results of independent asset reviews.

Where it is considered that there is no realistic prospect of recovering an element of an exposure against which an impairment provision has been raised, then that amount will be written off.

As with Consumer Banking, a PIP is held to cover the inherent risk of losses which, although not identified, are known through experience to be present in any loan portfolio. In Wholesale Banking, the PIP is set with reference to past experience using loss rates, and judgemental factors such as the economic environment and the trends in key portfolio indicators.

The cover ratio reflects the extent to which gross non-performing loans are covered by individual and portfolio impairment provisions. The cover ratio is impacted by a number of large downgrades where recovery of principal is expected and so a low level of provision has been raised, in accordance with IAS 39. The balance uncovered by individual impairment provision represents the value of collateral held and/or the Group’s estimate of the net value of any work-out strategy.

The following table sets out the total non-performing portfolio in Wholesale Banking:

2008
Asia Pacific
Hong Kong
$million
Singapore
$million
Malaysia
$million
Korea
$million
Other Asia Pacific
$million
India
$million
Middle East & Other S Asia
$million
Africa
$million
Americas, UK & Europe
$million
Total
$million
Loans and advances
Gross non-performing  201  3  16  193  517  61  241  80  308  1,620
Individual impairment provision (125) (2) (16) (78) (298) (34) (99) (42) (87) (781)
Non-performing loans and advances net of individual impairment provision 76 1 115 219 27 142 38 221 839
Portfolio impairment provision (208)
Net non-performing loans and advances                   631
Cover ratio                   61%
2007
Asia Pacific
Hong Kong
$million
Singapore
$million
Malaysia
$million
Korea
$million
Other Asia Pacific
$million
India
$million
Middle East & Other S Asia
$million
Africa
$million
Americas, UK & Europe
$million
Total
$million
Loans and advances
Gross non-performing 92 26 23 47 358 27 147 79 193 992
Individual impairment provision (50) (18) (21) (12) (235) (25) (122) (48) (87) (618)
Non-performing loans and advances net of individual impairment provision 42 8 2 35 123 2 25 31 106 374
Portfolio impairment provision (124)
Net non-performing loans and advances                   250
Cover ratio                   75%

The following tables set out the net impairment charge by geographic segment:

2008
Asia Pacific
Hong Kong
$million
Singapore
$million
Malaysia
$million
Korea
$million
Other Asia Pacific
$million
India
$million
Middle East & Other S Asia
$million
Africa
$million
Americas, UK & Europe
$million
Total
$million
Gross impairment charge 94 89 118 35 6 8 44 394
Recoveries/provisions no longer required (20) (3) (2) (14) (5) (7) (9) (29) (89)
Net individual impairment (credit)/charge 74 (3) (2) 89 104 30 (1) (1) 15 305
Portfolio impairment provision charge 79
Net impairment charge 384
2007
Asia Pacific
Hong Kong
$million
Singapore
$million
Malaysia
$million
Korea
$million
Other Asia Pacific
$million
India
$million
Middle East & Other S Asia
$million
Africa
$million
Americas, UK & Europe
$million
Total $million
Gross impairment charge 22 7 1 5 11 13 18 15 2 94
Recoveries/provisions no longer required (25) (9) (4) (3) (5) (7) (11) (14) (17) (95)
Net individual impairment (credit)/charge (3) (2) (3) 2 6 6 7 1 (15) (1)
Portfolio impairment provision charge 26
Net impairment charge 25

Movement in Group individual impairment provision

The following tables set out the movements in the Group’s total individual impairment provision against loans and advances:

2008
Asia Pacific
Hong Kong
$million
Singapore
$million
Malaysia
$million
Korea
$million
Other Asia Pacific
$million
India
$million
Middle East & Other S Asia
$million
Africa
$million
Americas, UK & Europe
$million
Total
$million
Provisions held at 1 January 2008 74 44 59 137 564 44 197 66 88 1,273
Exchange translation differences 1 (3) (43) (21) (10) (28) (9) (3) (116)
Amounts written off (94) (48) (53) (156) (397) (114) (178) (17) (62) (1,119)
Recoveries of acquisition fair values (19) (55) (4) (78)
Recoveries of amounts previously written off 31 15 16 2 72 23 12 9 180
Acquisitions 3 28 15 46
Discount unwind (3) (1) (2) (9) (22) (1) (1) (1) (40)
Other 10 5 (1) 1 (5) 10
New provisions 213 39 85 245 475 136 203 33 109 1,538
Recoveries/provisions no longer required (58) (29) (45) (16) (101) (33) (32) (18) (38) (370)
Net charge against profit 155 10 40 229 374 103 171 15 71 1,168
Provisions held at 31 December 2008 164 20 57 154 548 44 170 54 113 1,324
2007
Asia Pacific
Hong Kong
$million
Singapore
$million
Malaysia
$million
Korea
$million
Other Asia Pacific
$million
India
$million
Middle East & Other S Asia
$million
Africa
$million
Americas, UK & Europe
$million
Total
$million
Provisions held at 1 January 2007 159 84 92 285 625 39 176 68 154 1,682
Exchange translation differences 2 5 (1) 6 5 (3) 5 1 20
Amounts written off (161) (62) (92) (128) (468) (84) (115) (19) (54) (1,183)
Recoveries of acquisition fair values (98) (98)
Recoveries of amounts previously written off 34 12 16 42 19 12 1 3 139
Discount unwind (4) (4) (4) (21) (28) (1) (1) (2) (1) (66)
Other 2 1 7 10
New provisions 113 52 109 119 484 98 170 35 2 1,182
Recoveries/provisions no longer required (67) (40) (67) (19) (99) (33) (49) (22) (17) (413)
Net charge against/(credit to) profit 46 12 42 100 385 65 121 13 (15) 769
Provisions held at 31 December 2007 74 44 59 137 564 44 197 66 88 1,273

Asset backed securities#

Total exposures to asset backed securities#

The Group had the following exposures to asset backed securities:

31 December 2008 31 December 2007
Percentage of notional value of portfolio Notional $million Carrying values $million Fair* value $million Percentage of Portfolio Notional $million Carrying/
fair values $million
Residential mortgage backed securities (RMBS)
– US Alt-A 2% 84 57 35 2% 96 88
– US prime 2 1 2 2
– Other 23% 1,024 969 858 31% 1,825 1,798
Collateralised debt obligations (CDOs)
– Asset backed securities (ABS) 5% 208 32 30 5% 291 126
– Other CDOs 9% 379 306 225 7% 419 392
Commercial mortgage backed securities (CMBS)
– US CMBS 3% 147 129 92 3% 159 154
– Other 15% 671 525 466 16% 979 939
Other asset backed securities (Other ABS) 43% 1,935 1,740 1,551 36% 2,085 2,015
100% 4,450 3,759 3,257 100% 5,856 5,514

The carrying value of asset backed securities represents 0.9 per cent (31 December 2007: 1.7 per cent) of the Group’s total assets.

The credit quality of the asset backed securities portfolio remains strong. With the exception of those securities which have been subject to an impairment charge, 81 per cent of the overall portfolio is rated A, or better, and 67 per cent of the overall portfolio is rated as AAA. The portfolio is broadly diversified across asset classes and geographies, and there is no direct exposure to the US sub-prime market.

25 per cent of the overall portfolio is invested in RMBS, with a weighted average credit rating of AA+. 58 per cent of the residential mortgage exposures were originated in 2005 or earlier.

14 per cent of the overall portfolio is in CDOs. This includes $208 million of exposures to Mezzanine and High Grade CDOs of ABS, of which $173 million have been impaired. The remainder of the CDOs have a weighted average credit rating of AA+.

18 per cent of the overall portfolio is in CMBS, of which $147 million is in respect of US CMBS with a weighted average credit grade of AAA. The weighted average credit rating of the Other CMBS is AA.

43 per cent of the overall portfolio is in Other ABS, which includes securities backed by credit card receivables, bank collateralised loan obligations, future flows and student loans, with a weighted credit rating of AA.

Following an amendment to IAS 39 in 2008, the Group reclassified some of its asset backed securities from trading and available-for-sale to loans and receivables. The securities were reclassified at their fair value on the date of reclassification. The impact of these reclassifications on the Group’s profit and loss account and available-for-sale reserve for 2008 is set out in note 15 on page 117.

Writedowns of asset backed securities#

  Trading
$million
Available-for-sale
$million
Total
$million
31 December 2008:
Charge to available-for-sale reserves (309) (309)
Charge to the profit and loss account (74) (90) (164)
31 December 2007:
Charge to available-for-sale reserves (83) (83)
Charge to the profit and loss account (44)  (122)* (166)

Country risk

Country risk is the risk that the Group will be unable to obtain payment from its customers or third parties on their contractual obligations as a result of certain actions taken by foreign governments, chiefly relating to convertibility and transferability of foreign currency.

The GRC is responsible for the Group’s country risk limits and delegates the setting and management of the country limits to the Group Country Risk function.

The business and country chief executive officers manage exposures within these limits and policies. Countries designated as higher risk are subject to increased central monitoring.

Cross border assets comprise loans and advances, interest-bearing deposits with other banks, trade and other bills, acceptances, amounts receivable under finance leases, certificates of deposit and other negotiable paper and investment securities where the counterparty is resident in a country other than that where the assets are recorded. Cross border assets also include exposures to local residents denominated in currencies other than the local currency.

Cross border exposure to several of the Group’s key markets has risen significantly year on year. This reflects the Group’s focus and continued expansion in its core countries and the execution of underlying business strategies in these key markets. This is demonstrated by the overall exposure increases across various businesses in China, India, Hong Kong, Singapore and UAE.

Cross border exposure to the US has increased as overnight positions have grown in support of the Group’s enhanced clearing capabilities following the acquisition and integration of American Express Bank. In Korea, a significant portion of the overall exposure increase is due to mark-to-market increases on existing derivative positions, driven by volatility in currency exchange rates and interest rates.

Cross border exposure to countries in which the Group does not have a significant presence predominantly relates to short-dated money market and some global corporate activity. This business is originated in the Group’s key markets, but is conducted with counterparties domiciled in the country against which the exposure is reported, as indicated by the increased position on France.

The following table, based on the Group’s internal country risk reporting requirements, shows cross border outstandings where they exceed one per cent of the Group’s total assets.

2008 2007
One year
or less
$million
Over
one year
$million
Total
$million
One year
or less
$million
Over
one year
$million
Total
$million
US 12,839 5,449 18,288 8,622 5,835 14,457
Korea 8,803 7,040 15,843 6,617 4,299 10,916
India 8,806 6,862 15,668 6,228 3,667 9,895
Hong Kong 9,481 4,136 13,617 7,681 3,043 10,724
Singapore 9,715 3,003 12,718 5,490 1,700 7,190
United Arab Emirates 5,989 4,546 10,535 4,600 3,004 7,604
China 4,480 3,292 7,772 3,634 2,041 5,675
France 3,071 1,835 4,906 2,142 1,001 3,143

Market risk

Standard Chartered recognises market risk as the risk of loss resulting from changes in market prices and rates. The Group is exposed to market risk arising principally from customer-driven transactions. The objective of the Group’s market risk policies and processes is to obtain the best balance of risk and return whilst meeting customers’ requirements.

The primary categories of market risk for Standard Chartered are:

Market risk governance

The Group Market Risk Committee (GMRC), under authority delegated by the GRC, is responsible for setting Value at Risk (VaR) and stress loss limits for market risk within the Group’s risk appetite. The GMRC is also responsible for policies and other standards for the control of market risk and overseeing their effective implementation. These policies cover both trading and non-trading books of the Group. The trading book is defined as per the FSA Handbook’s Prudential Sourcebook for Banks, Building Societies and Investment Firms (BIPRU). This is more restrictive than the broader definition within IAS 39 ‘Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement’, as the FSA only permits certain types of financial instruments or arrangements to be included within the trading book. Limits by location and portfolio are proposed by the businesses within the terms of agreed policy.

Group Market Risk (GMR) approves the limits within delegated authorities and monitors exposures against these limits. Additional limits are placed on specific instruments and position concentrations where appropriate. Sensitivity measures are used in addition to VaR as risk management tools. For example, interest rate sensitivity is measured in terms of exposure to a one basis point increase in yields, whereas foreign exchange, commodity and equity sensitivities are measured in terms of the underlying values or amounts involved. Option risks are controlled through revaluation limits on underlying price and volatility shifts, limits on volatility risk and other variables that determine the options’ value.

Value at Risk (VaR)

The Group measures the risk of losses arising from future potential adverse movements in market rates, prices and volatilities using a VaR methodology. VaR, in general, is a quantitative measure of market risk which applies recent historic market conditions to estimate the potential future loss in market value that will not be exceeded in a set time period at a set statistical confidence level. VaR provides a consistent measure that can be applied across trading businesses and products over time and can be set against actual daily trading profit and loss outcome.

VaR is calculated for expected movements over a minimum of one business day and to a confidence level of 97.5 per cent. This confidence level suggests that potential daily losses, in excess of the VaR measure, are likely to be experienced six times per year.

The Group uses historic simulation as its VaR methodology with an observation period of one year. Historic simulation involves the revaluation of all unmatured contracts to reflect the effect of historically observed changes in market risk factors on the valuation of the current portfolio.

VaR is calculated as the Group’s exposure as at the close of business, generally London time. Intra-day risk levels may vary from those reported at the end of the day.

Back testing

To ensure their predictive power, VaR models are back tested against actual results. In 2008 there were only three exceptions in the regulatory back testing. This is well within the ‘green zone’ applied internationally to internal models by bank supervisors, and implies that model reliability is statistically greater than 95 per cent.

Stress testing

Losses beyond the set confidence interval are not captured by a VaR calculation, which therefore gives no indication of the size of unexpected losses in these situations.

GMR complements the VaR measurement by regularly stress testing market risk exposures to highlight the potential risk that may arise from extreme market events that are rare but plausible.

Stress testing is an integral part of the market risk management framework and considers both historical market events and forward-looking scenarios. A consistent stress testing methodology is applied to trading and non-trading books.

Stress scenarios are regularly updated to reflect changes in risk profile and economic events. The GMRC has responsibility for reviewing stress exposures and, where necessary, enforcing reductions in overall market risk exposure. The GRC considers stress testing results as part of its supervision of risk appetite.

The stress testing methodology assumes that scope for management action would be limited during a stress event, reflecting the decrease in market liquidity that often occurs.

Regular stress test scenarios are applied to interest rates, credit spreads, exchange rates, commodity prices and equity prices. This covers all asset classes in the Financial Markets banking and trading books.

Ad hoc scenarios are also prepared reflecting specific market conditions and for particular concentrations of risk that arise within the businesses.

Market risk changes

Trading, non-trading and total VaR continued to rise in 2008 as a consequence of rising market volatility across the wider global markets. The one year observation period applied for VaR increasingly reflected the increased volatility.

The acquisition of American Express Bank in 2008 increased Group VaR by $1.1 million.

From 2008, reported Group VaR reflects adjustments made for the inclusion of credit spread VaR arising from non-trading book activity, and the exclusion of structural Group Treasury debt capital issuance positions.

Trading and non-trading (VaR at 97.5%, 1 day)

2008 2007
Daily value at risk Average
$million
High
$million
Low
$million
Actual^^
$million
Average
$million
High
$million
Low
$million
Actual^^
$million
Interest rate risk* 25.1 37.6 14.2 36.7 12.2 19.6 7.0 17.1
Foreign exchange risk 6.0 8.7 3.3 4.8 3.2 7.2 1.7 4.4
Commodity risk 1.3 2.4 0.6 2.1 0.6 3.5 0.2 0.6
Equity risk 1.4 2.4 0.5 0.8 0.6 1.9 1.4
Total** 31.5^ 42.5^ 17.8 41.7 12.9 20.0 7.5 18.6

Trading (VaR at 97.5%, 1 day)

2008 2007
Daily value at risk Average
$million
High
$million
Low
$million
Actual^^
$million
Average
$million
High
$million
Low
$million
Actual^^
$million
Interest rate risk* 12.0 16.0 8.5 9.3 6.2 11.9 2.8 11.0
Foreign exchange risk 6.0 8.7 3.3 4.8 3.2 7.2 1.7 4.4
Commodity risk 1.3 2.4 0.6 2.1 0.6 3.5 0.2 0.6
Equity risk 1.4 2.4 0.5 0.8 0.6 1.9 1.4
Total** 14.2 20.6 9.2 9.8 7.0 12.5 3.5 12.5

The average daily income earned from trading market risk related activities is as follows:

2008
$million
2007
$million
Interest rate risk 3.4 2.3
Foreign exchange risk 5.1 3.0
Commodity risk 0.6 0.1
Equity risk 0.0
Total 9.1 5.4

Non-trading (VaR at 97.5%, 1 day)

2008 2007
Daily value at risk Average
$million
High
$million
Low
$million
Actual^^
$million
Average
$million
High
$million
Low
$million
Actual^^
$million
Interest rate risk* 19.8 39.6 10.6 38.8 9.5 16.8 6.5 14.7

The average daily income earned from non-trading market risk related activities is as follows:

2008
$million
2007
$million
Interest rate risk 3.2 1.7

Market risk coverage

Interest rate risk from across the non-trading book portfolios is transferred to Financial Markets where it is managed by local Asset and Liability Management (ALM) desks under the supervision of local Asset and Liability Committees (ALCO). The ALM desks deal in the market in approved financial instruments in order to manage the net interest rate risk, subject to approved VaR and risk limits.

VaR and stress tests are applied to non-trading book exposures in the same way as for the trading book.

The interest rate risk on securities issued by Group Treasury is hedged to floating rate and is not included within Group VaR. The issued securities and related hedges are managed separately under the Group’s Capital Management Committee (CMC) by Group Treasury.

Foreign exchange risk on the non-trading book portfolios is minimised by match funding assets and liabilities in the same currency.

Structural foreign exchange risks are not included within VaR and arise from net investments in non-US dollar currency entities. These are managed separately under the CMC by Group Treasury.

Equity risk relating to private equity and strategic investments is not included within the VaR. It is separately managed through delegated limits for both investment and divestment, and is also subject to regular review by an investment committee. Equity shareholdings are detailed in notes 16 and 23 to the financial statements.

Market risk regulatory capital#

At Group level, the FSA specifies minimum capital requirements against market risk. The FSA has granted the Group CAD2 internal model approval covering the majority of interest rate and foreign exchange risk in the trading book. In 2008 the scope was extended to include precious and base metals market risk. Positions outside the CAD2 scope are assessed according to standard FSA rules. At 31 December 2008 the Group’s market risk regulatory capital requirement was $735.2 million (2007: $664.0 million).

Derivatives

Derivatives are contracts with characteristics and value derived from underlying financial instruments, interest and exchange rates or indices. They include futures, forwards, swaps and options transactions. Derivatives are an important risk management tool for banks and their customers because they can be used to manage market price risk. The market risk of derivatives is managed in essentially the same way as other traded products.

The Group’s derivative transactions are principally in instruments where the mark-to-market values are readily determinable by reference to independent prices and valuation quotes.

The Group enters into derivative contracts in the normal course of business to meet customer requirements and to manage its own exposure to fluctuations in market price movements.

Derivatives are carried at fair value and shown in the balance sheet as separate totals of assets and liabilities. Recognition of fair value gains and losses depends on whether the derivatives are classified as trading or held for hedging purposes.

The credit risk arising from all financial derivatives is managed as part of the overall lending limits to financial institutions and corporate customers. This is covered in more detail in the Credit risk section above.

Hedging

The Group uses futures, forwards, swaps and options transactions in the foreign exchange and interest rate markets to hedge risk.

The Group occasionally hedges the value of its foreign currency denominated investments in subsidiaries and branches. Hedges may be taken where there is a risk of a significant exchange rate movement but, in general, management believes that the Group’s reserves are sufficient to absorb any foreseeable adverse currency depreciation.

The effect of exchange rate movements on the capital risk asset ratio is partially mitigated by the fact that both the underlying net asset value of these investments and the risk weighted value of assets and contingent liabilities follow broadly the same exchange rate movements.

In accounting terms under IAS 39, hedges are classified into three types: fair value hedges, predominantly where fixed rates of interest or foreign exchange are exchanged for floating rates; cash flow hedges, predominantly where variable rates of interest or foreign exchange are exchanged for fixed rates; and hedges of net investments in overseas operations translated to the parent Company’s functional currency, US dollars.

The Group may also, under certain individually approved circumstances, enter into ‘economic hedges’ which do not qualify for IAS 39 hedge accounting treatment, and which are accordingly marked to market through the profit and loss account, thereby creating an accounting asymmetry. These are entered into primarily to ensure that residual interest rate and foreign exchange risks are being effectively managed.

Liquidity risk

Liquidity risk is the risk that the Group either does not have sufficient financial resources available to meet all its obligations and commitments as they fall due, or can only access these financial resources at excessive cost.

It is the policy of the Group to maintain adequate liquidity at all times, in all geographic locations and for all currencies, and hence to be in a position to meet all obligations as they fall due. The Group manages liquidity risk both on a short-term and medium-term basis. In the short-term, the focus is on ensuring that the cash flow demands can be met through asset maturities, customer deposits and wholesale funding where required.

The GALCO is the responsible governing body that approves the Group’s liquidity management policies. The Liquidity Management Committee (LMC) receives authority from the GALCO and is responsible for setting liquidity limits, and proposing liquidity risk policies and practices. Liquidity in each country is managed by the Country ALCO within the pre-defined liquidity limits set by the LMC and in compliance with Group liquidity policies and local regulatory requirements. The Group Treasury and Group Market Risk functions propose and oversee the implementation of policies and other controls relating to the above risks.

The Group seeks to manage its liquidity prudently in all geographical locations and for all currencies. Exceptional market events can impact the Group adversely, thereby affecting the Group’s ability to fulfil its obligations as they fall due. The principal uncertainties for liquidity risk are that customer depositors withdraw their funds at a substantially faster rate than expected, or that repayment for asset maturities is not received on the intended day. To mitigate these uncertainties, the Group has a customer deposit base diversified by type and maturity. In addition it has ready access to wholesale funds – if required – under normal market conditions, and has a portfolio of liquid assets which can be realised if a liquidity stress occurs.

Policies and procedures

Due to the diversified nature of Standard Chartered’s business, the Group’s policy is that liquidity is more effectively managed locally, in-country. Each ALCO is responsible for ensuring that the country is self-sufficient, is able to meet all its obligations to make payments as they fall due, and operates within the local regulations and liquidity limits set for the country.

The Group liquidity risk management framework requires limits to be set for prudent liquidity management. There are limits on:

In addition, the Group prescribes a liquidity stress scenario that assumes accelerated withdrawal of deposits over a period of time. Each country has to ensure that cash inflows exceed outflows under such a scenario.

All limits are reviewed at least annually, and more frequently if required, to ensure that they are relevant given market conditions and business strategy. Compliance with limits is monitored independently on a regular basis by Group Market Risk. Limit excesses are escalated and approved under a delegated authority structure and reviewed by ALCO. Excesses are also reported monthly to the LMC and GALCO which provide further oversight.

In addition, regular reports to the ALCO include the following:

The Group has significant levels of marketable securities, principally government securities and bank paper, which can be realised, repo’d or used as collateral in the event that there is a need for liquidity in a crisis. In addition, each country and the Group maintain a liquidity crisis management plan which is reviewed and approved annually. The liquidity crisis management plan lays out trigger points and actions in the event of a liquidity crisis to ensure that there is an effective response by senior management in case of such an event.

Primary sources of funding

A substantial portion of the Group’s assets are funded by customer deposits made up of current and savings accounts and other deposits. These customer deposits, which are widely diversified by type and maturity, represent a stable source of funds. Country ALCO monitors trends in the balance sheet and ensures that any concerns that might impact the stability of these deposits are addressed effectively. ALCO also reviews balance sheet plans to ensure that projected asset growth is matched by growth in the stable funding base.

The Group maintains access to the interbank wholesale funding markets in all major financial centres and countries in which it operates. This seeks to ensure that the Group has flexibility around maturity transformation, has market intelligence, maintains stable funding lines and is a price-maker when it performs its interest rate risk management activities.

Liquidity metrics

The Group monitors key liquidity metrics on a regular basis. Liquidity is managed on a country basis and in aggregate across the Group. The key metrics are:

Advances to deposit ratio

This is defined as the ratio of total loans and advances to customers relative to total customer deposits. A low advances to deposits ratio demonstrates that customer deposits exceed customer loans resulting from emphasis placed on generating a high level of stable funding from customers.

2008
$million
2007
$million
Loans and advances to customers* 178,512 156,982
Customer accounts* 238,591 182,596
% %
Advances to deposits ratio 74.8 86.0

Liquid asset ratio

This is the ratio of liquid assets to total assets. The level of holdings of liquid assets in the balance sheet reflects the prudent approach of the Group’s liquidity policies and practices.

2008
%
2007
%
Liquid assets* to total assets ratio 23.1 23.9

Operational risk#

Operational risk is the risk of direct or indirect loss due to an event or action resulting from the failure of internal processes, people and systems, or from external events. Any of these risks could result in an adverse impact on the Group’s financial condition and results of operations. The Group seeks to ensure that key operational risks are managed in a timely and effective manner through a framework of policies, procedures and tools to identify, assess, monitor, control and report such risks.

The Group Operational Risk Committee (GORC) oversees the management and assurance of operational risks across the Group. The GORC is also responsible for ensuring adequate and appropriate policies and procedures are in place for the identification, assessment, monitoring, control and reporting of operational risks.

Group Operational Risk is responsible for setting the Operational Risk policy, defining standards for measurement and for Operational Risk capital calculation. A Group Operational Risk Assurance function, separate from the businesses, is responsible for deploying and assuring the operational risk management framework, and for monitoring the Group’s key operational risk exposures.

Regulatory risk#

Regulatory risk includes the risk of loss arising from a failure to comply with the laws, regulations or codes applicable to the financial services industry.

The Regulatory Risk function within Group Compliance & Assurance is responsible for developing and maintaining an appropriate framework of regulatory compliance policies and procedures. Compliance with such policies and procedures is the responsibility of all employees and is monitored by the Compliance & Assurance function.

The Group Regulatory Risk and Compliance Committee reviews and approves the Group’s Regulatory Compliance standards and monitors key regulatory risks across the Group.

Reputational risk#

Reputational risk is the risk of failure to meet the standards of performance or behaviours mandated by the Group and expected by stakeholders in the way in which business is conducted. It is Group policy that, at all times, the protection of the Group’s reputation should take priority over all other activities, including revenue generation.

Reputational risk will arise from the failure to effectively mitigate one or more of country, credit, liquidity, market, regulatory and operational risk. It may also arise from the failure to comply with social, environmental and ethical standards. All employees are responsible for day-to-day identification and management of reputational risk.

From an organisational perspective the Group manages reputational risk through the Group Reputational Risk and Responsibility Committee (GRRRC) and at country level through country management committees.

The GRRRC is responsible for alerting the Group to emerging or thematic reputational risks; for seeking to ensure that effective risk monitoring is in place for reputational risk; and for reviewing the mitigation plan for any significant reputational risk that arises.

At country level, it is the responsibility of the country chief executive officer to protect the Group’s reputation in that market. To achieve this, the country chief executive officer and country management committee must actively:

Pension risk#

Pension risk is the risk to the Group caused by its obligations to provide pension benefits to its employees. Pension risk exposure is not concerned with the financial performance of the Group’s pension schemes themselves, rather the focus is upon the risk to the Group’s financial position which arises from the Group’s need to meet its pension scheme funding obligations. The risk assessment is focused on the Group’s obligations towards its major pension schemes, ensuring that its funding obligations to these schemes is comfortably within the financial capacity of the Group. Pension risk is monitored on a quarterly basis, taking account of the actual variations in asset values and updated expectations regarding the progression of the pension fund assets and liabilities.

The Pensions Executive Committee is the body responsible for governance of pension risk and it receives its authority directly from the court.

Tax risk#

Tax risk is any uncertainty of outcome regarding the Group’s tax position.

The Group manages tax risk through the Tax Management Committee (TMC), which receives its authority from the GALCO. Tax risks are identified at both a country and a Group level; significant tax risks identified in this way, and mitigating action both planned and taken, are reported to the TMC, GALCO and GORC on a quarterly basis.

Pillar 3 disclosures#

The full Pillar 3 disclosures will be made annually as at the 31 December, and the 2008 disclosures will be published in April 2009 on the Standard Chartered PLC website.

green arrow left
green arrow right