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HK fines StanChart unit; AMP Capital to buy stake in US investment manager


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HK fines StanChart unit; AMP Capital to buy stake in US investment manager


* Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission reprimanded and fined Standard Chartered Plc unit Standard Chartered Securities (Hong Kong) Ltd. HK$2.6 million for internal control failures relating to short selling orders from January 2014 to August 2015. The unit was also found to have breached the city's rules for securities and financial resources by incorrectly including the amounts receivable from its clearing agent, Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Ltd., as liquid assets in its financial returns for the nine months ended Sept. 30, 2015.

* Ant Financial, the payment affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., and Standard Chartered agreed to collaborate to increase access to financial services in countries that are part of China's Belt and Road initiative, Reuters reported.

* China Guangfa Bank Co. Ltd.'s asset impairment losses surged more than 17x in five years, which has led to the bank's net profit declining 15.29% to 9.50 billion yuan in 2016 from 2012, Changjiang Times reported. The bank's nonperforming ratio rose for four successive years to 1.59% at the end of 2016.

* Taiwan's Financial Supervisory Commission is considering whether to revise financial regulations and raise the upper limit of penalties in the banking industry, Central News Agency reported. The current upper limit of penalties for the banking industry was NT$10 million, much lower than the US$180 million fine imposed on Mega International Commercial Bank Co. Ltd.'s New York branch by U.S. financial authorities.


* South Korean financial regulators, along with the country's two insurance associations, jointly launched a system that would allow customers with insurance policies to search for uncollected insurance money, the Kookmin Ilbo reported. The total amount of the fund to be distributed is expected to reach 7.2 trillion won.

* Shinhan Bank Co. Ltd., a unit of South Korea's Shinhan Financial Group Co. Ltd., completed the acquisition of Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd.'s retail business in Vietnam, Yonhap News Agency reported. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

* Korea Post, which previously only handled the sales of deposit and insurance products, will introduce its first mid-interest loan program for borrowers with midrange credit ratings, the Korea Economic Daily reported. The country's postal service will also diversify its financial investment arm by increasing foreign and alternative investments to up to 6%.

* Korea Asset Management Corp. inked a memorandum of agreement with eight commercial banks to form a 1 trillion won support fund for small and medium-sized enterprises based on a capital-call-type contribution by each bank of up to 500 billion won, the Korea Economic Daily reported.


* The Bank of Thailand and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas entered into a memorandum of understanding on banking supervision, which includes promoting greater information exchange and cooperation on licensing, on-site examinations, supervisory colleges and crisis management.

* Indonesia's PT Bank Ina Perdana Tbk is being more selective in channeling loans to multifinance firms to prevent bad loans, CEO Edy Kuntardjo told Bisnis Indonesia. The bank's loans to multifinance firms dropped 40% in November from December 2016.

* Indonesia-based PT Bank Panin Dubai Syariah Tbk plans to raise its capital through a rights issue of 7.5 billion shares, Infobank reported. The move is expected to strengthen the lender's capital structure and support its business growth.

* The Philippine central bank may consider regulating Bitcoin, possibly teaming up with the country's Securities and Exchange Commission if the cryptocurrency is used as investments locally, GMA News reported, citing Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier.


* Indian banks' gross nonperforming assets as of Sept. 30 came in at 8.50 trillion rupees, Press Trust of India reported, citing Shiv Pratap Shukla, minister of state for finance. Shukla noted that the public sector banks' provisions for NPAs at the end of September grew 9.5% from March 31.

* A committee constituted by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India suggested major changes in the investment norms for the life insurance sector, as the current ones are "restrictive" and making it difficult to offer competitive returns to policyholders, The Hindu Business Line reported. The committee noted that there is a need to review the regulations due to a changing economic environment.

* Housing Development Finance Corp. Ltd. plans to issue 20 billion Indian rupees of secured redeemable nonconvertible debentures on a private placement basis. The debentures were priced with a coupon of 7.55% per year and have a tenor of one year and two months. They will mature Feb. 20, 2019.

* India's ESAF Small Finance Bank Ltd. commenced talks to find a foreign equity partner, Business Standard reported, citing K. Paul Thomas, the lender's managing director and CEO. The move comes at a time when the bank plans to raise capital in the last quarter of fiscal 2017-18 or the first quarter of fiscal 2018-19.


* AMP Capital Investors Ltd., a unit of Australian financial services company AMP Ltd., agreed to buy a minority stake in U.S.-based real estate investment manager PCCP LLC for an undisclosed sum. A spokeswoman for AMP said the stake the company will take is 24.9%, Pensions and Investments reported.

* Commonwealth Bank of Australia unit Colonial Mutual Life Assurance Society Ltd., or CommInsure, will pay A$300,000 toward a consumer advice service in response to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission's concerns that it likely misled customers about its heart attack cover. CommInsure will also have its advertising sign-off processes independently reviewed.

* The Australian government may come up with new laws for the superannuation and life insurance sectors after an industry-led working group failed to provide a substantial agreement on a code of conduct aimed at protecting consumers when claims fall short, The Australian reported, citing Financial Services Minister Kelly O'Dwyer.


Middle East & Africa: South Africa's ANC to have new leader; Arab Bank chair released from detention

Europe: Fitch upgrades Portugal, Ireland; France eyes cap on banks' corporate exposures

Latin America: Chile, Honduras decide presidents; prosecutors look to replace Caixa VPs

North America: Nigeria sues JPMorgan; OCC closes Washington Federal Bank for Savings

North America Insurance: Humana in talks to buy health company Kindred; suit over ACA subsidies settled

R Sio, Sally Wang, Sarun Saelee, Cathy Hwang, Emi White and Aditya Suharmoko contributed to this report.

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