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StanChart Said in Talks for Morgan Stanley India Unit

Standard Chartered Plc, the U.K bank that earns most of its profit in Asia, is in talks to buy Morgan Stanley’s Indian wealth management unit, two people familiar with the discussions said.

Standard Chartered, which re-entered the private banking business in 2006, is planning to expand in India, one of the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private.

Morgan Stanley is narrowing its focus on investment banking and asset management in the South Asian nation. Even after it won approval for commercial banking operations in India last year, the New York-based bank won’t be starting that business in the country, one person said. The bank has more than 400 employees in India.

India is Standard Chartered’s third largest market after Hong Kong and Singapore, company presentations show. In the six months through June, the bank generated $311 million in profit before tax, or about 8 percent of its total worldwide, from the country.

Standard Chartered and Morgan Stanley declined to comment on the talks in e-mailed statements.

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