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Credit Suisse CEO quits; Natixis Q4 net income doubles; Italian bank earnings

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Credit Suisse CEO quits; Natixis Q4 net income doubles; Italian bank earnings

* The European Commission will launch infringement procedures next week against some EU member states that have yet to transpose the bloc's latest directive on money laundering, which aims to enhance transparency.

* The European Securities and Markets Authority asked the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority to ensure that ICE Futures Europe and the London Metal Exchange are fully compliant with the EU's market transparency rules for commodity derivatives, Reuters reported.

* Institutional investors are increasingly requiring hedge fund managers to factor in environmental, social and governance considerations in their investment activities, as they see ESG's long-term investment benefits, a new report launched at the Cayman Alternative Investment Summit revealed.

* The ESMA published its strategy on sustainable finance, saying its key priorities include transparency obligations, risk analysis on green bonds, ESG investing, convergence of national supervisory practices on ESG factors, taxonomy and supervision.

UK AND IRELAND

* HSBC Holdings PLC Chairman Mark Tucker is set to launch a wholesale restructuring of the British banking group amid mounting frustration from shareholders, with the move expected to include cuts in equities trading and selling off units in Turkey and Oman, as well as a possible combination of its global corporate and investment bank, insiders told Bloomberg News. Such a plan could center on boosting profits from Asia and would likely reduce the group's 237,000-strong workforce.

* Lloyds Banking Group PLC CEO António Horta-Osório could see a reduction of more than £1 million to his £6 million pay package following a wide revamp of executive compensation at the group that will do away with its controversial target-related bonus program, the Financial Times reported.

* The U.K. Competition and Markets Authority ordered Nationwide Building Society to repay £900,000 to customers over the company's failure to warn them that they would be charged for entering an unarranged overdraft.

* British life insurer Prudential PLC is eyeing full control of its insurance joint venture with CITIC Group Corp. after China eased entry barriers for foreign insurers, Reuters reported.

* Hargreaves Lansdown PLC co-founder Peter Hargreaves is selling approximately £500 million of existing ordinary shares in the company. Hargreaves said he aims to diversify his assets with the sale, adding that he remains and will continue to be a substantial shareholder in the group.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* Credit Suisse Group AG Group CEO Tidjane Thiam resigned, effective Feb. 14, following the presentation of the Swiss bank's fourth-quarter and full-year 2019 results. Thiam, who will be replaced by Credit Suisse (Switzerland) Ltd. CEO Thomas Gottstein, said he had no knowledge of the bank's observation of two former colleagues and that he regretted the scandal that "undoubtedly disturbed" the lender. Credit Suisse's board of directors, meanwhile, reaffirmed their support for Chairman Urs Rohner to complete his term until April 2021. Swiss investment adviser Ethos Foundation called for Rohner to step down to assume responsibility for the spying scandal, Reuters reported.

* Deutsche Bank AG's shares yesterday breached the €9 mark for the first time since November 2018, after U.S. private investment firm Capital Group acquired a 3.1% stake in the German lender, making it the bank's third-largest shareholder.

* German insurer Talanx AG reported a preliminary unaudited result of €923 million for the 2019 financial year, up from €703 million a year ago.

* Markus Hubbel, UBS Group AG's CFO for global wealth management and for the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, was replaced by the Swiss lender's group controller and chief accounting officer, Todd Tuckner, Reuters reported. The group will also promote Angus Graham to the role of deputy group controller.

FRANCE AND BENELUX

* Natixis, the investment banking arm of French banking group Groupe BPCE, reported fourth-quarter net income group share of €371 million, a 105% year-over-year increase from €181 million. Groupe BPCE, meanwhile, posted fourth-quarter 2019 net income of €789 million, up 34.2% year over year from €588 million.

* Société Générale SA plans to shift to a new cash dividend policy for 2020, with a payout ratio based on underlying group net income, in order to offer predictability for shareholders, CFO William Kadouch-Chassaing told analysts. SocGen also said it has recapitalized its insurance subsidiary Sogecap by €350 million, Les Echos reported.

* Scor SE reduced the number of contracts it took out in January by 4.7% to €3.16 billion to better align its portfolio to climate risk, Les Echos reported.

* Crédit Agricole Consumer Finance has been told to repay about 40,000 Dutch customers after it charged them too much interest, Het Financieele Dagblad reported, citing a ruling by the appeals committee of the Kifid complaints institute. The ruling may cost the Crédit Agricole SA unit hundreds of millions of euros, the paper said.

* Pan-European stock exchange operator Euronext NV is considering shortening its trading hours, Het Financieele Dagblad reported.

SPAIN AND PORTUGAL

* Spain's anti-corruption prosecutor has accused former Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA Chairman Francisco González of "opaquely" hiring José Manuel Villarejo, who is accused of carrying out alleged corporate espionage for the bank, El País wrote. The prosecutor said that seven departments of the bank participated in a coordinated manner in the hiring of Villarejo despite "knowing that he was an active policeman." ECB Vice President Luis de Guindos said BBVA's financial stability and the development of its business were not affected by the spying case, Reuters reported.

* Spain's Abanca Corporación Bancaria SA is the favorite to buy control of small Portuguese lender EuroBic, which is at the center of the "Luanda Leaks" corruption scandal involving its biggest shareholder, Angolan billionaire Isabel dos Santos, Dinheiro Vivo reported. ECO reported that Abanca was in exclusive talks to buy the Portuguese lender.

ITALY AND GREECE

* UniCredit SpA is reducing its stake in Yapı ve Kredi Bankası AŞ to 20% and intends to keep its holding at the same level throughout 2020, CEO Jean Pierre Mustier told analysts.

* Mediobanca - Banca di Credito Finanziario SpA reported net profit of €197 million for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2019, compared to €205.1 million a year ago. Mediobanca CEO Alberto Nagel said the bank wants its governance rules to be brought more in line with market standards to allow an outsider to become CEO, Reuters wrote.

* Banco BPM SpA reported fourth-quarter 2019 reclassified consolidated net income of €95.8 million, compared to a net loss of €584.0 million a year ago.

* Credito Emiliano SpA reported preliminary consolidated profit of €43.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2019, down from €56.2 million in the previous quarter.

* Credito Valtellinese SpA posted full-year 2019 reclassified consolidated profit of €56.2 million, up from €31.7 million in 2018. The Italian lender said it signed an agreement with Hoist Finance AB (publ) to sell an unsecured bad loan portfolio with a gross book value of roughly €357 million, with the deal expected to bring the bank's gross nonperforming exposure ratio down to 9.4% from 11.3% as of Sept. 30, 2019. Creval CEO Luigi Lovaglio said the Italian lender is well on track to deliver targets for 2020-2021, when it expects to return to paying a dividend, Reuters wrote.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Sampo Oyj reported group profit attributable to owners of the parent of €363 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, down from €367 million in the prior-year period.

* Swedish activist investment fund Cevian has become the second largest shareholder in Nordea Bank Abp, with a 4.3 % stake in the bank, Dagens Industri reported.

* Danske Bank A/S has appointed Attila Olesen as new head of asset management, Børsen reported.

* Danica Pension will cease to operate under that name in Sweden today, Realtid reported.

EASTERN EUROPE

* The Czech Republic's central bank unexpectedly raised its key interest rates, citing elevated inflation pressures that persist in the domestic economy.

* Hungary-based OTP Bank Nyrt. plans to expand further and is working on at least one big acquisition, the lender's CEO Sandor Csanyi told Reuters. The executive did not specify the country into which the bank could expand, but noted it is based east from the central and eastern Europe, although it is not Turkey.

* Commerzbank AG unit mBank SA expects a significant increase in new forex mortgage-related lawsuits in the next five years, news agency PAP said. Reuters cited mBank CEO Cezary Stypułkowski as saying that it would be better for the lender if it was purchased by an investor that is not yet present in Poland.

* Poland's Bank Guarantee Fund set up a new bridge bank to be used in potential resolution procedures that might be launched in the future, news agency PAP said.

* Polish authorities are looking to introduce new regulations to limit the issuance of mortgage loans and prevent a price bubble on the housing market, an idea that has been criticized by local lenders that do not see significantly increased risk in this segment, Rzeczpospolita wrote.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: Goldman Sachs sets up new unit in Japan; JPMorgan eyes revivals of program

Middle East & Africa: FAB cuts staff; Sudan dissolves state banks' boards; Lebanon OKs rescue plan

Latin America: Brazil cuts Selic rate to 4.25%; Credicorp's Q4'19 profit increases

North America: Genworth 'Plan B'; PartnerRe may be in play; Scor Hagibis bill; Willis earnings

Global Insurance: RBI to use liquidity boosting measures; Prudential eyes China JV sole ownership

NOW FEATURED ON S&P GLOBAL MARKET INTELLIGENCE

Credit Suisse shareholders back Thiam in power struggle with chairman Rohner: Three top Credit Suisse Group shareholders have backed CEO Tidjane Thiam in his power struggle with Chairman Urs Rohner as the bank becomes increasingly involved in spying allegations.

Investors reward Nordea for promising execution of new strategy: "Nordea has beaten the market's expectations on the income side, but perhaps more importantly it reported significantly lower costs than expected," said one analyst.

Scor's nonlife CEO defends Jan. 1 cutbacks amid rising reinsurance prices: Jean-Paul Conoscente told analysts that new information caused the company to change its view of risk as it entered the key renewal period in 2020.

Deza Mones, Daniel Stephens, Danielle Rossingh, Esben Svendsen, Beata Fojcik, Heather O'Brian, Brian McCulloch, Sophie Davies, and Helen Popper contributed to this report.

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This S&P Global Market Intelligence news article may contain information about credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings. Descriptions in this news article were not prepared by S&P Global Ratings.