Having been under pressure for a number of months, Standard Chartereds (LSE: STAN) (NASDAQOTH: SCBFF.US) CEO, Peter Sands, will leave the bank in June. He will be replaced by Bill Winters, the former head of JP Morgans investment bank, who will start work in May and be paid a salary of 1.15m.
Of course, Peter Sands departure is somewhat unsurprising. His position has been under major scrutiny after the bank released multiple profit warnings last year, while continued allegations of wrongdoing have also caused investor sentiment to decline. In fact, in the last two years Standard Chartereds share price has fallen by a whopping 46% and, therefore, it is perhaps inevitable that changes are being made at the present time.
In addition to a new CEO, Standard Chartered will also have a new Chairman, with Sir John Peace now due to step down next year. Furthermore, the bank will seek to shrink its board to 14 members, with three non-executive directors set to leave this year and the head of its Asia operations, Jaspal Bindra, also ceasing to be a board member. As such, todays changes are major, sweeping and could have a significant impact on the long term future of Standard Chartered.
Clearly, the new management team at Standard Chartered will make changes to the banks strategy and, as is the case with any new senior appointments, may seek to release any disappointing news flow as early as possible. As such, the banks share price may offer little prospect for outperformance in the short run, as the market awaits the start of a new era for the Asia-focused bank.
However, even though it yields 5.5% at the present time, a cut to Standard Chartereds dividend seems somewhat unlikely. Thats because it is very well covered by profit, with the banks dividend coverage ratio being an impressive 2.09. This means that, even if profitability does continue to decline, Standard Chartered should still be able to afford to pay at least its current level of dividends.
Of course, how quickly dividends rise is another matter, and it could be the case that a new management team holds dividend growth back until the bottom line starts to show signs of significant improvement following two years of negative growth.
While the future of Standard Chartered is decidedly uncertain at the present time, it seems to be well-worth buying if you are a long term investor. Certainly, there is likely to be considerable volatility in the banks share price in the months ahead but, with its shares trading on a price to earnings (P/E) ratio of just 8.7 and having a yield of 5.5% (as mentioned), it seems to include a vast margin of safety. This means that, even if news flow does disappoint in the short run, it could prove to be an excellent long term investment.
Of course, Standard Chartered isn’t the only stock that could be worth buying right now. However, finding others can be tough when work and other commitments take up most of your time.
That’s why The Motley Fool has written a free and without obligation guide called 7 Simple Steps For Seeking Serious Wealth.
It’s a step-by-step guide that could help you to find the most appealing stocks with the best dividends and most impressive growth opportunities. As such, it could give your portfolio a major boost.
Click here to get your copy of the guide – it’s completely free and comes without any obligation.
Get FREE Issues of The Motley Fool Collective
Get straightforward advice on whats really happening with the stock markets, direct to your inbox. Help yourself with our FREE email newsletter designed to help you protect and grow your portfolio wealth.
By providing your email address, you consent to receiving further information on our goods and services and those of our business partners. To opt-out of receiving this information click here. All information provided is governed by our Privacy Statement.