Standard Chartered takes a hit as finance director is stripped of risk role

Finance director Richard Meddings is set to hand over responsibility for risk to chief executive Peter Sands

Shares of Standard Chartered suffered another blow today as the bank tried to play down suggestions of turmoil after it was revealed that finance director Richard Meddings is handing over responsibility for risk to chief executive Peter Sands.

The revelation came less than a fortnight after the London-headquartered bank issued a profits warning. Today its share price suffered another blow, falling 12.25p to 1285.75p.

Meddings is highly thought of in the City and regularly hosts calls on the bank’s trading updates.

Standard Chartered pointed out that it had announced the change at the end of last month. But analysts pointed out that it had come as the very last paragraph in a statement announcing major board changes including the arrival of Naguib Kheraj, formerly of Barclays and Cazenove, as a non-executive and the retirement of Scottish politician Margaret Ewing.

The final paragraph read: “In compliance with Listing Rule 9.6.11(3), the Company further announces that Peter Sands, Group Chief Executive, will assume responsibility for the Company’s Risk function from Richard Meddings, Group Finance Director with effect from 1 January 2014.”

Standard Chartered declined to say whether the change had been made at the request of the banking regulator the Prudential Regulatory Authority which is headed by Andrew Bailey.

But it is understood that conversations did take place between the PRA and the bank based not on the individuals concerned but on the principles of bank board structures.

Standard Chartered pointed out that  day-to-day responsibility for risk still lies with its chief risk officer, Richard Goulding, and simply changed who he reports to from Meddings  to Sands.

“This is a governance matter,” said a spokesperson. “It is to make sure that the business is well-equipped for any future regulatory changes... We did not tell staff. It is not a big deal but a technicality.”