Standard Chartered is planning to expand its manpower base in Singapore by hiring 2,000 people over the period of next three years.

The British lender currently employs 6,000 people in Singapore. The new addition will bring the head count to 8,000 by 2012. Ray Ferguson, regional chief executive for Singapore and Southeast Asia at Standard Chartered, said that while he is optimistic about growth in the region, confidence may be hit by concerns over whether Europe can contain its debt crisis.

Standard Chartered, which has 33 branches in Thailand, plans to re-open on May 24, 2010. Regarding the Thailand crisis, Mr Ferguson said the political unrest in Thailand is too complicated to predict an outcome, but said that the bank has no intention whatsoever to scale back in Thailand.

Mr Ferguson said that he expects double-digit annual growth in staff in Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam.

Mr Ferguson said: “We see the environment ahead with caution, but we also do see continued opportunities as Asian economies grow. I still see an Indonesia that’s growing five to six percent this year. I still see a China that’s going to grow similar to the historic trend rates it’s had over the last five years, and an India that’s growing.”