Why Standard Chartered PLC Should Be A Candidate For Your 2014 ISA

standard charteredSo you want some global exposure in your ISA investments, do you, but you’re wary of investing money in other countries with currency risks and incomprehensible foreign taxes and the like?

Well, you can get international investment here at home, with so many of our top FTSE 100 companies having their fingers in pies all around the globe.


Take Standard Chartered (LSE: STAN) (NASDAQOTH: SCBFF.US), for example. It’s a FTSE 100 company, but it does most of its business in Asia — and only 4% of its profits came from Europe and the Americas in 2012.

That kept it largely immune from the Western credit crunch, and shareholders did not suffer the eye-watering losses endured by some.

So how has Standard Chartered been performing? Here’s a five-year summary together with forecasts for the next three years:

Dec EPS Change P/E Dividend Change Yield Cover
2008 169¢ +1% 8.4 65.5¢ 4.6% 2.6x
2009 180¢ +7% 14.1 66.0¢ +0.8% 2.6% 2.7x
2010 197¢ +9% 14.7 70.0¢ +6.1% 2.4% 2.8x
2011 198¢ 0% 11.9 76.0¢ +8.6% 3.2% 2.6x
2012 225¢ +14% 11.7 84.0¢ +10.5% 3.2% 2.7x
2013* 204¢ -10% 10.5 87.5¢ +4.2% 4.0% 2.3x
2014* 226¢ +11% 9.4 94.5¢ +8.0% 4.3% 2.4x
2015* 248¢ +9% 8.6 103¢ +9.0% 4.7% 2.4x

* forecast

Now, as a long-term investor, that’s what I like to see — well-covered dividends being raised each year ahead of inflation. It’s the kind of share I’d hope to put away for a couple of decades without having to be bothered with any day-to-day happenings.

Buy and forget

And that’s exactly the way I think our ISA allowance should be used — and it will be raised to £11,760 come April. Our gains are protected against tax, and it makes little sense to me to fritter away any of them in needless buying and selling transactions — use as much of your allowance as you can each year, putting the cash into long-term stable companies, and the chances are you’ll have a well-funded retirement.

But if Standard Chartered is such a good prospect, why has the share price fallen this year? In fact, it’s lost around 30% over the past 12 months, falling to 1,244p today — and that’s the cause of those low P/E valuations over the next few years.

Crunch time for China?

Perhaps ironically, it’s that global diversity that’s the cause. China is suffering from a bit of a credit boom itself, and its property market is overheating a little — and we’ve seen the effect of those two combined nasties in the West. There are, then, fears that banks like Standard Chartered would suffer in a Chinese slump.

And they would, but Standard Chartered is much better capitalised now than the bad banks were a few years ago — and the Chinese have a habit of just keeping going whenever the bears start growling.

It’ll work out in the long run

And over 20 years or more, we’re sure to see economic cycles come and go, but shares in good companies will come out ahead — even Barclays shares have multiplied five-fold since 1988, and we’ve had 26 years of annual dividends on top of that.

Investments like Standard Chartered could even help you reach millionaire status by the time you retire, and an ISA is a good way to protect a chunk of your investments every year. The Motley Fool report Ten Steps To Making A Million In The Market can help you too -- you might be surprised to learn that the steps are really not complicated. The report is free, so it will cost you nothing to check it out.

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> Alan does not own any shares in Standard Chartered or Barclays. The Motley Fool owns shares in Standard Chartered.