Standard Chartered has been appointed to handle local settlement and clearing for global custodian BNP Paribas Securities Services in Japan. The UK-based bank will look after $4 billion in assets under custody that BNP Paribas manages for institutional clients - one of the largest portfolios in the country.

Standard Chartered won the account from Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi.

Paul Hedges, head of custody sales and relationship management for Standard Chartered in Europe, says the appointment illustrates a wider trend for foreign custodians in Japan to transfer their accounts from Japanese banks to foreign providers.

"Japan was traditionally one of those markets where everyone used a local sub-custodian because they were the only ones that offered the service," says Hedges. "Now that the market has been deregulated, and more foreigners are entering the field, it is no surprise that the global custodians are rethinking their mandates and switching them to foreign banks."

The move makes sense because foreign sub-custodians offer a level of reporting and customer service that global custodians are used to receiving in other markets and it allows them to plug Japan into their global platforms. 

Hedges says Standard Chartered is focusing its energies on winning more such accounts and is using its wholesale banking relationships with the global custodians operating in Japan as a way in. At the moment, the bank claims to control 12% of all foreign custody transaction flows in the country.

Standard Chartered handles commercial and international banking for BNP Paribas in Japan, but the sub-custody relationship in new. Hedges is hoping to replicate the relationship with other BNP Paribas operations around the world.