Standard Chartered Plc reckons it can spot the next fintech gem.The bank, which has 85,000 employees across 59 markets, has already fallen behind financial technology in one respect: its market capitalization is barely half the latest valuation given to payments startup Revolut Ltd.
But Chief Executive Officer Bill Winters will next month try to convince his investors that the bank’s growing support for new fintechs will eventually reach the same multibillion-dollar heights.“I think the market looks at our portfolio of digital assets and says ‘Well, it’s hard for us to tell how much is table stakes, how much should we actually be thinking is similar to some of those things that have stratospheric valuations, and how much is a really good way to earn money’,” Winters said in a telephone interview after the bank’s better-than-expected earnings.
“I don’t blame the market for not being able to understand it,” Winters said. “It’s hard enough to understand the value of Stripe or Revolut because they are not valued on any conventional multiple of earnings or cash flow or income or anything else.”
The bank’s SC Ventures unit has backed firms such as Solv, a digital commerce platform, CardsPal, a Singaporean app that helps users find the best credit card deals, and Zodia, which acts as custodian for digital assets such as cryptocurrencies.
“I don’t think we’re going to get a big revaluation on our share price on the back of our September session; what I hope is that we can make it clear what we’ve been spending our money on,” Winters said.
The bank has also launched Mox, its Hong Kong virtual bank, in September 2020 and has attracted about 135,000 customers, half of whom are under the age of 35. The unit is a partnership with several technology companies, including Trip.com, China’s largest online travel agency, and the platform is set to be exported as the basis for a new Singaporean virtual bank.
“How does that compare in terms of prospects to a Revolut, or a Wise, or a Monzo? It compares very well,” according to Winters.