* Nine Chinese provinces have banned peer-to-peer online lenders from conducting business in their territories, China News Agency reported. The nine provinces include Shandong, Hunan, Sichuan, Chongqing, Henan, Hebei, Yunnan, Gansu and Shanxi. The local government of Shanxi province, the latest to make the announcement, ordered P2P institutions to leave the market by the end of June.
* ChinaLin Securities Co. Ltd. said it rectified the breaches in internal controls and compliance inspections that were found by the China Securities Regulatory Commission earlier this month, a probe that led to a three-month restriction of the scale of new business expansion.
* The People's Bank of China said it accepted an application from American Express Co. concerning establishing operations in China, Reuters reported.
* The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission issued draft rules for financial leasing companies including tighter requirements on investment activities, customer management and risk control, Caixin reported. The draft rules would require them to cap their noncore business assets at 40% of the total. Under the guidelines, the firms must also cap their portion of risky assets to 8× their net assets.
* CITIC Securities Company Ltd. is forming a "coordination committee" at unit CLSA Ltd., Bloomberg News reported, citing sources. The committee will include CITIC Securities President Yang Minghui, Chairman Zhang Youjun, head of research and equities and trading Li Chunbo and CLSA CEO Rick Gould. The move is part of a revamp of CLSA's decision-making structure and will lead to new management teams.
* Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co. Ltd. is expected to roll out domestic M&A insurance by the end of January, The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun reported. The company is primarily looking to bring in midsize deals between ¥500 million and ¥15 billion.
* South Korea's BNK Financial Group Inc. said the country's National Pension Service acquired additional shares in the fourth quarter of 2019, making it the largest stakeholder in the group with an 11.56% stake, the Maeil Business Newspaper reported.
* South Korea's KEB Hana Bank became the first lender to join a consultative group for the settlement of knock-in-knock-out disputes from 2008, after the Financial Supervisory Service told six banks to pay a total of 25.5 billion won to four firms that suffered losses from the options, The Korea Times reported.
* CIMB Thai Bank PCL appointed Tan Keat Jin deputy head of the lender's consumer banking division, effective Jan. 2, Post Today reported.
* Thailand-based Siam Commercial Bank PCL has set up a new subsidiary, SCB10X Co. Ltd., with a registered capital of 5 million baht to support investment in businesses using digital technology to achieve sustainable growth, Daily News reported.
* Thailand's KT ZMICO Securities Co. Ltd. has been renamed Krungthai ZMICO Securities Co. Ltd. to reflect its ties to parent Krung Thai Bank PCL, Krungthep Turakij reported. The brokerage firm will use the new name and logo from Jan. 17.
* Benjamin Diokno, governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, said the central bank may slash rates during the first quarter, Bloomberg News reported.
* Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. Ltd. appointed Helen Wong its deputy president and head of global wholesale banking, effective Feb. 3. Wong was previously HSBC Holdings PLC's Greater China head.
* The Reserve Bank of India declined to postpone the Jan. 7 deadline for resolution plans for troubled assets under inter-creditor arrangements, The Economic Times reported. Banks, which have been working on resolution plans for assets worth 3 trillion rupees, will have to make provisions against cases where resolution plans are not in place and refer them to the National Company Law Tribunal.
* India's Axis Bank Ltd. said it hired 28,000 employees during the fiscal year, with plans to take on an 4,000 more in the fourth quarter, The Economic Times reported. The lender is also looking to add to its headcount by 30,000 over the few years.
* Karvy Private Wealth Ltd clients filed a petition with India's Supreme Court challenging the December 2019 amendments to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, which specified at least 100 creditors, or 10% of a class of creditors, as a minimum bar, Mint reported. The clients contend that the amendment discriminates between individual and corporate creditors and places unreasonable requirements on the former.
* One97 Communications Ltd. unit Paytm introduced an all-in-one QR code payment method that would allow businesses to receive unlimited payments through Paytm Wallet, Rupay Cards and any Unified Payments Interface-based payment apps into their bank account, Mint reported, quoting Paytm founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma. In a separate report, Sharma said he plans to evolve Paytm into a small finance bank.
* The Securities and Exchange Board of India is looking to review its 2.5-million-rupee fine against CARE, India Ratings and ICRA Ltd. for lapses in giving ratings to certain nonconvertible debentures, Business Standard reported, citing sources. The penalty could be increased fourfold.
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
* The Australian Securities and Investments Commission banned financial adviser David O'Brien from providing financial services for four years for not fulfilling his legal obligation to act in the best interests of his clients. Surveillance conducted by the regulator found that he did not look into his client's circumstances and their financial products, among other things.
* The Australian Securities and Investments Commission is stepping up its reviews of certain brokers who allegedly missold poorly performing listed investment funds and listed investment trusts, The Australian Financial Review reported, citing a senior source. The review could include an audit of the brokers' statements of advice provided to their clients.
* Aurora Funds Management announced through its Aurora Dividend Income Trust that it plans to make a rival off-market takeover offer for Keybridge Capital at 6.6 Australian cents per share, The Australian reported. In December 2019, Wilson Asset Management made a 6.5-cent-per-share offer for Keybridge. Nicholas Bolton, Keybridge Capital's managing director, said it is considering both options.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Middle East & Africa: Absa Group to boost lending in Africa; UBS to split EMEA wealth unit into 3
Europe: UK suspends no-deal Brexit planning; Barclays urged to end fossil-fuel lending
Latin America: S&P upgrades Argentina; Caixa selects banks for insurance unit IPO
North America: CIBC eyeing 'tuck-in' wealth management deals; Goldman revamps business segments
Global Insurance: Hagibis, Faxai insured losses; war cover review; Aflac unit in deal
R Sio, Sally Wang, Sarun Saelee, Cathy Hwang, Emi White and Aditya Suharmoko contributed to this report.
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