Standard Chartered (SCB) has announced earlier today the establishment of a new business unit, SC Ventures, which will lead the banking group in the direction of digital innovation. Helmed by Alex Manson, the new venture unit will also seek out investment opportunities in fintechs and start-ups, and promote rapid testing and implementing new business models. For his new role, Manson will be based in Singapore — where Standard Chartered’s eXcellerator Innovation Lab is also located. He was most recently Global Head of Transaction Banking and will retain his reporting line into the bank’s group CIO, Michael Gorriz.
More specifically, SC Ventures will be working with ‘businesses and functions’ across the Group on three key areas in its mandate:
- Catalysts: SC Ventures’ internal consultants will help the rest of the Group in problem-solving and spreading innovation best practices and client-centric design. The eXcellerator innovation lab will be part of this group.
- Investments: SC Ventures will act as a professional investment unit to manage the Group’s minority investments in fintech companies and to seek further investments in promising technologies.
- Ventures: SC Ventures will sponsor and oversee new disruptive technology ventures that are wholly or partially owned by Standard Chartered. The unit will seek projects that amplify the bank’s core strengths or research where the bank can support a venture in a strategic way.
It is noted that SC Ventures is not the banking group’s first foray into the fintech investment scene. Standard Chartered already backs distributed ledger payments company Ripple and data firm Paxata, although the investments were in the past managed by the Transaction Banking unit.