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China Pacific Insurance FY'18 profit up; Karnataka Bank reports fraud

GREATER CHINA

* Yi Gang, governor of the People's Bank of China, said the country will further open up its financial sector and deepen industry reforms. Yi noted that overseas financial institutions should be treated equally as their domestic counterparts in terms of shareholding proportions, business scope and licenses.

* Wang Zhaoxing, vice president of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, said the regulator may issue measures to open up the domestic sector further, including widening foreign institutions' business scope and improving their market conditions, Reuters reported. He also said the CBIRC plans to abolish or ease quantitative restrictions on foreign financial companies.

* China Pacific Insurance (Group) Co. Ltd.'s net profit attributable to its equity holders for the year ended December 2018 rose to 18.02 billion yuan from 14.66 billion yuan in the previous year. EPS grew to 1.99 yuan from 1.62 yuan.

* Meanwhile, China Pacific Insurance appointed Zhang Yuanhan CFO to replace Pan Yanhong, who left due to work arrangements. Pan will continue to serve as an executive vice president of the company.

JAPAN AND KOREA

* Woori Bank sold its 2.7% stake, or 18,346,782 shares, in Woori Financial Group Inc. to foreign institutional investors in block deals before the market opened March 22. The share sale was made to comply with South Korea's financial holding company regulations.

* BooKooK Securities Co. Ltd. said its board approved the appointment of Park Hyeon-cheol CEO, replacing Jeon Pyung in the role. Park is currently CEO of Yurie Asset Management Co. Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of BooKooK Securities.

* Daishin Securities Co. Ltd. said in a regulatory filing that it would invest 100 billion won to acquire the entire stock of its new trust company unit. Daishin Securities received a preliminary real estate trust business license from South Korea's Financial Services Commission on March 3.

* Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance Co. Ltd. said in a regulatory filing that it would liquidate its insurance consulting and research unit in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The company had established the unit with a US$400,000 investment in 2009.

ASEAN

* Kasikornbank PCL expects premium collection from its bancassurance business in 2019 to stand at 6 billion baht, comprising 5 billion baht from life insurance and 1 billion baht from nonlife insurance, Post Today reported.

* Small & Medium Enterprise Development Bank of Thailand plans to sell more than 3.5 billion baht of nonperforming assets, the bank said in a release. The first batch of the assets will be made available April 29.

* Pru Life Insurance Corp. of U.K. obtained approval from the Philippines' Insurance Commission to continue operations in the country following the renewal of its license, The Philippine Star reported.

* The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is planning to issue regulations for financial institutions operating ATMs that let users purchase and exchange virtual currencies, The Philippine Star reported.

SOUTH ASIA

* India-based Karnataka Bank Ltd. said it lodged a complaint with the Reserve Bank of India concerning the fraudulent diversion of funds amounting to 132.6 million rupees in the fund-based working capital facility extended to SRS Finance Ltd.

* State Bank of India's board approved an extension of the validity period for raising equity capital of up to 200 billion rupees from preferential allotment, rights issue or any other mode or a combination of the three options until March 31, 2020.

* Meanwhile, Andhra Bank obtained approval to raise up to 32.56 billion rupees through issuance of equity shares to the Indian government, The Hindu reported, citing a statement from the bank. The bank plans to use the funds to shore up common equity and Tier 1 capital.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* The Australian Securities and Investments Commission revoked the financial services licenses of two New South Wales-based financial services providers, Sydney Business Accounting and A G Calleia & Co., for failing to obtain membership in the Australian Financial Complaints Authority scheme.

* The Singapore FinTech Association and FinTech Australia signed a memorandum of understanding to contribute to the development of the fintech industry across ASEAN and in Australia, The Strait Times reported, citing a joint statement by the two industry bodies. They will share resources and give each other access to investors' communities as part of the agreement.

* Financial services company Challenger Ltd. is close to selling real estate assets for about A$1 billion, with AEW Capital emerging as a potential buyer of the firm's A$400 million worth of assets, The Australian reported.

R Sio, Sally Wang, Jonathan Cheah, Jaekwon Lim and Santibhap Ussavasodhi contributed to this report.

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