US watchdog criticised over Standard Chartered
SEVERAL SENIOR British politicians have accused US regulators of pursuing an anti-City of London agenda in its criticism of Standard Chartered, suggesting it was part of an attempt to weaken a rival financial centre.
John Mann, a Labour member of the treasury select committee, said he detected an “increasing anti-British bias by US regulators and politicians” that may be influenced by a desire to shift business from London to Wall Street.
“This is a real power grab and the stakes are very high.”
Boris Johnson, London’s Conservative mayor, said: “We must be very careful that the proper desire to root out wrongdoing does not become an excuse for protectionism and a self-interested attack on London’s status as the world’s pre-eminent financial centre.”
Standard Chartered hit back yesterday against US regulatory attempts to cast it as a “rogue institution” for allegedly breaching sanctions on Iran, describing any transgressions as “small clerical errors”.
“This is an attack,” said one senior City of London figure. “If we don’t stand up to it, it could be catastrophic for London’s financial standing. There has to be some stage where Number 10 or the treasury says something in defence of the banks.”
Standard Chartered has had an Irish operation since 2007 when it acquired the Dublin-based aircraft leasing and financing group Pembroke from its management. It employs about 24 people in Ireland, and its main service is providing operating leases of commercial jet aircraft to airlines worldwide, but particularly in Standard Chartered’s areas of focus in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. As of last month Pembroke owned or managed 85 aircraft, which were on lease to more than 20 carriers on six continents
Standard Chartered’s Irish operation also provides financing of in-production commercial aircraft to airlines, as well as lease and aircraft management services. Pembroke reported profit before tax of $52.8 million (€42.6 m) in 2010, up from $28.3 million in 2009.– (Additional reporting Financial Times Service 2012)