At SIBOS, Standard Chartered CEO Bill Winters told Reuters’ Carmel Crimmins how technology spending has changed at the bank.
A huge part of Standard Chartered’s digital strategy is its desire to thrive across 65 different markets.
Four years ago, the bank spent $650mn in new technology investments with 90% ‘defensive’ spending such as compliance.
Last year, it spent $1.6bn, with a larger share on strategy and brand new segments.
What does this mean?
Rather than just keeping the lights on, banks must now commit their technology spending to getting ahead of the game. Winters commented that since the bank has a large digital offering across 65 different markets, Standard Chartered “must value our network”. “The nature of a network is bringing people together. At its core we’re connecting buyers to sellers of products, movers of money… all of which have two sides to the transaction and we’re the ones in the middle,” he explained.
Of last year’s $1.6bn technology spend, the company spent “the entire increase, and some of the base” on strategic elements that improved quality of service, as well as new markets and segments.
Winters also stressed the importance of partnership in being an innovative, digitally-led bank. “Nobody is big enough to conquer this market by themselves,” he commented. “For us to satisfy the needs of our clients… we will have to continue to develop technologies and mechanisms in partnership with other people… whether that comes in the form of fintech partners, whether it comes in the form of clients… we try to do as much as we can to offer an open platform ”
The proportion of the bank’s annual spend put toward technology is only set to increase – as will the proportion of technology spend that goes on innovation. A little over a third is currently spent on “new innovation” and another third goes on innovating ways to make current services better.