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Global shadow bank assets fall since 2008; HSBC to cut jobs in Europe, Asia

* Global shadow banking assets in 2018 shrank for the first time in a decade, the Financial Stability Board said in an annual global monitoring report released Jan. 19. The decline was in part due to stock market declines, which reduced the value of assets held by investment funds globally, as well as a substantial decline in trust companies in China. Meanwhile, assets held by broker-dealers and finance companies, concentrated in countries such as the U.S. and Japan, grew in 2018.

* HSBC Holdings PLC is cutting about 100 jobs in equities research, sales, trading and back-office functions mainly in continental Europe, as well as some reduction in Asia, Reuters reported, citing unnamed sources. The move will leave London and Paris the major trading hubs for the bank in Europe.

* Meanwhile, HSBC named David Nish to replace Jonathan Symonds as senior independent director and chairman of the group audit committee, effective Feb. 18.

GREATER CHINA

* Allianz Group officially opened Allianz (China) Insurance Holding Co. Ltd., China's first fully foreign-owned insurance holding company, Insurance Business Asia reported. The Shanghai-based holding company has 2.72 billion yuan in registered capital, Xinhua News Agency reported earlier.

* China Life Insurance Co. Ltd. said its estimated net profit attributable to equity holders for 2019 will increase year over year by between 45.58 billion yuan and 47.86 billion yuan, or between 400% and 420%. The growth mainly comes from investment returns and nonrecurring items.

* Xiaomi Corp. obtained approval from the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission to establish a consumer finance subsidiary in Chongqing city in southwest China. The license stipulates that the unit must be ready for operation in six months.

* The China Financial Futures Exchange will set up a new office to focus on policing futures trading, reviewing noncompliance and market manipulation allegations and issuing administrative penalties, the China Securities Regulatory Commission said.

* Guotai Junan Securities Co. Ltd. secured approval from the China Securities Regulatory Commission to add 10 new sales offices in cities including Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Hefei and Changchun.

* Tianfeng Securities Co. Ltd. obtained the regulator's approval to raise funds from issuing 1,554,000,000 new shares to existing shareholders.

* Shengjing Bank Co. Ltd. said Zhang Qiang has resigned as president and executive director, effective Jan. 17. Xiao Ruiyan was appointed president and was nominated an executive director, subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals.

JAPAN AND KOREA

* South Korea's Hana Financial Investment Co. Ltd. and France's Access Capital Partners signed an agreement, which will let clients of the South Korean firm invest in European infrastructure assets, Yonhap News Agency reported.

* Hana Financial Investment plans to raise 300 billion won from corporate bonds Jan. 30, The Financial News reported. The company last issued 300 billion won of corporate bonds in June 2018.

* Samsung Group is said to be planning a major leadership reshuffle in most of its financial subsidiaries, including Samsung Card Co. Ltd., Samsung Securities Co. Ltd., Samsung Life Insurance Co. Ltd. and Samsung Asset Management Co. Ltd., in the week of Jan. 20, The Korea Herald reported, citing the Korea Economic Daily.

ASEAN

* The Stock Exchange of Thailand unveiled a three-year strategic plan for 2020-2022. Initiatives include closer connection with nearby markets such as Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, as well as enhancing trading infrastructure and cybersecurity.

* Siam Commercial Bank PCL said its full-year 2019 net profit was up 0.9% year over year to 40.43 billion baht, while provisions increased 50.7% in the same period. The bank declared a special dividend of 75 satang per share to be paid out in mid-February.

* Indonesia's Financial Services Authority said the restructuring of PT Bank Muamalat Indonesia Tbk is almost complete, and the regulator is likely to approve of a prospective investor, Bisnis Indonesia reported.

* Indonesia's police have opened an inquiry into allegations of corruption in the Indonesian Armed Forces Social Insurance, which has allegedly misappropriated the money under its care and lost up to 16 trillion Indonesian rupiah, The Jakarta Globe reported.

* Masatsugu Asakawa, president of Manila-based Asian Development Bank, told The Nikkei he plans to expand the development bank's role in global taxation and boost efforts in combating corporate tax avoidance. Asakawa was appointed in December 2019 and officially started Jan. 17.

SOUTH ASIA

* HDFC Bank Ltd. reported a 29.8% year-over-year increase in net profit for the fiscal third quarter ended Dec. 31, 2019, driven by higher total income.

* Meanwhile, HDFC Bank has hired a recruiter to search for a CEO, and is likely come up with a shortlist of candidates by the third quarter, Financial Express reported, citing CFO Sashi Jagdishan.

* The Pakistani government will begin screening investments totaling 4.038 trillion rupees in a bid to prevent illegal inflows, the Dawn reported. The move comes following the recommendations by the Financial Action Task Force, an intergovernmental body.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Mobile payments firm Square Inc. told the Australian Senate it faced instances of anti-competitive behavior from the country's largest lenders, The Australian Financial Review reported. The U.S.-based company, however, did not identify the banks.

* Sydney-based Challenger Ltd. is said to be mulling acquiring a North American investment manager in a bid to expand overseas, The Australian Financial Review's Street Talk blog reported.

* Steve Weston, CEO of Volt Bank Ltd., said the neobank raised a total of A$70 million in equity financing from 176 institutional investors to fund its mortgage and personal loan business, The Australian Financial Review reported. Weston also said the bank is planning an IPO later this year.

Aries Poon, Emily Lai, Jonathan Cheah, James Lim and Santibhap Ussavasodhi contributed to this report.

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