STANDARD Chartered is set to axe its private trust business that employs 240 people across five countries and territories, including Hong Kong. The bank said the sale of the Equitor private trust business to Bank of Bermuda - which last year purchased Standard Chartered's institutional trust operation - was consistent with its plans to concentrate on core banking and financial operations. A spokesman for Standard Chartered said: ''This business does not fall within our core areas of group retail banking, corporate and institutional banking, and trading and markets. This is in line with our strategy of divesting our portfolio of non-core activities.'' He added: ''Overall the private trust business is very small. In terms of our overall operation, it is insignificant.'' The business, which employs 140 people in Hong Kong, also has offices in Jersey, the Cook Islands, Western Samoa and New Zealand. Charles Vaughan-Johnson, president and chief executive officer of the Bank of Bermuda, said it was one of a handful of institutions approached almost two months ago by Standard Chartered to consider buying the business. Mr Vaughan-Johnson said the acquisition doubled the size of the bank's private client operation, to account for about 30 per cent of the company's overall business. ''It will enable us to achieve a leading position in personal trust and financial planning services for wealthy families worldwide,'' he said. ''It strengthens our existing private client activities in Asia, provides a new presence for us in the Pacific and adds considerably to our strength in Europe, where the Jersey offices handle private and institutional trust business.''