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JPMorgan, Goldman join Climate Leadership Council; Wells to cut Manila staff

JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. have signed on as additional founding members of the Climate Leadership Council, a coalition of companies, economists and environmental groups pushing for the adoption of a nationwide U.S. tax on carbon dioxide emissions. Launched in June 2017, the Climate Leadership Council aims to promote a revenue-neutral carbon tax where the proceeds would be returned to American taxpayers in the form of a dividend.

Hundreds of Wells Fargo & Co. workers in the Philippines risk losing their jobs as the San Francisco-based bank intends to remove about 700 staff positions in Manila, Bloomberg News reports, citing Wells Fargo's spokesman, Peter Gilchrist. A portion of the roles will be moved to India as part of a plan to concentrate technology employees in fewer locations. Some 650 tech workers of the bank in the U.S. were also told to relocate to a larger market to keep their jobs, according to the news outlet.

JPMorgan is targeting to take full ownership of its operations in mainland China in 2021, the South China Morning Post reports, citing Mark Leung, the company's China CEO. The U.S. bank's operations in China include securities, asset management and futures and options.

Also, JPMorgan is giving financial technology companies until July 30 to sign new data access agreements with the bank, otherwise they will be barred from accessing its customer information, Reuters reports, citing two people familiar with the matter. The fintechs must agree to a "concrete plan" to transition to a new method of collecting customer data, the sources told the news outlet.

BlackRock Inc. has transferred its remaining 20% stake in PennyMac Financial Services, with a current market value of $589 million, to two charitable entities, the BlackRock Charitable Fund and The BlackRock Foundation. As a result, BlackRock has terminated its right to nominate directors for election to PennyMac Financial's board. Matthew Botein, who served as a BlackRock designee on the board, will continue to serve as a director.

A group of law professors, including Columbia University professors John Coffee and Joshua Mitts, has urged the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to require more disclosure from traders who disseminate adverse views of a company, which tend to drive down that company's stock price, Bloomberg News reports, citing a Feb. 12 petition to the SEC. The letter cited, for instance, a report accusing General Electric Co. of accounting fraud, which weighed down the company's shares in August 2019. The report came from Harry Markopolos, who worked for a midsized hedge fund that was shorting GE. The identity of the hedge fund, however, was never revealed, according to the news outlet.

The Federal Reserve Board has terminated enforcement actions against four banks. JPMorgan was fined $61.9 million for violations of law and unsafe or unsound practices. Deutsche Bank AG was ordered to pay $19.7 million for noncompliance with Volcker rule requirements. Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc's Royal Bank of Scotland PLC, now known as NatWest Markets PLC, was fined $274 million over foreign exchange practices, together with NatWest Markets Securities Inc., formerly known as RBS Securities. Discover Financial Services agreed to fix deficiencies in unit Discover Bank's Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering compliance program.

In other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: South Korea eases bank penalties; China Development Bank ex-chair's arrest order

Europe: RBS to rebrand as NatWest; Crédit Agricole's i-bank boost; UBS begins CEO search

Middle East & Africa: DIB to raise foreign ownership limit; South Africa plots state-owned bank

Now featured on S&P Global Market Intelligence

Bank M&A 2020 Deal Tracker: Merger of equals trend continues: In January, 17 whole-bank M&A deals with an aggregate deal value of $4.36 billion were announced. A year ago, 19 deals were announced with a total value of $4.08 billion.

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng was up 0.31% to 27,815.60, and the Nikkei 225 was down 0.59% to 23,687.59.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 rose 0.18% to 7,464.89, and the Euronext 100 inched up 0.05% to 1,176.68.

On the macro front

The retail sales report, the import and export prices report, the industrial production report, the business inventories report, the consumer sentiment report and the Baker-Hughes Rig Count are due out today.

Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.

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