All of Britain’s banks will face devastation in the event of a Brexit, apart from Standard Chartered, says research firm Bernstein.
Earlier on Wednesday, analysts from Bernstein released an in-depth note looking at the effects that a potential Brexit could have on the UK’s banking system.
In short, it would be pretty awful — incomes would fall substantially, the debt banks hold would get riskier, and things would generally be rubbish.
Almost all UK banks would face big problems, with mainstream high street lenders bearing the brunt of the problems.
But according to Bernstein, there is one bank based in the UK that could avoid the worst of the Brexit backlash, and could actually be a pretty good bet in the short term following a leave outcome in the referendum.
That bank is Standard Chartered, the FTSE 100 listed firm focused on emerging markets. The reason for Bernstein’s faith in the bank is its lack of exposure to the UK market, despite being based in Britain.
Standard Chartered has no retail operations in Britain, and its business focuses mainly in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. For this reason, Bernstein notes that the best trade on UK banking stocks right now is to go long on Standard Chartered — essentially betting on it going up in the future.
It added that while Standard Chartered will come off virtually unscathed, the biggest worries for Britain’s banking sector in the event of Brexit will be Barclays and Lloyds.
“It’s also clear from our analysis that BARC has the highest beta to Brexit — it’s the lowest capitalised bank in the UK with the highest gearing to both Unsecured, Investment Banking and London per se, which is likely to see the brunt of the pain,” say Bernstein’s analysts.
While Brexit does not look like it is hurting Standard Chartered in the short-term, the bank is facing other problems, with CEO Bill Winters angrily speaking of the “cancer” of “employees lending money to other employees at very high-interest rates,” within the bank earlier this week.