Given ThailandÆs troubles recovering from last year's military coup, and JapanÆs slow but apparently inexorable slide into recession, it would appear Devadason is jumping from the frying pan into the fire.
Like Devadason before him, GillotÆs focus will be wholesale banking and in a press release he says he feels Standard Chartered is well placed to support Japanese firms and banks investing in the rest of Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
What is changing in Japan is a new focus on retail banking, as foreign banks try to tap the estimated $1.5 trillion of household assets the Japanese are sitting on. HSBC recently announced a major expansion of its retail operations in Japan via its premium æPremierÆ service (it currently has two branches but is planning up to four more). HSBC does not offer non-premium retail banking services in Japan. Merrill Lynch started a joint venture with Mitsubishi UFJ in April 2006, offering wealth management and private banking services to wealthy individuals.
Currently, Standard Chartered also has two branches, one in Sanno Park Tower and one in Marunouchi. Standard Chartered launched "Priority Banking" in July 2005.
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