* Natural catastrophes caused overall losses of $150 billion in 2019, of which $52 billion were insured, in line with the inflation-adjusted average of the past 30 years, according to Munich Re. The insured portion of overall losses, slightly above 35%, was in line with the average of the past decade, reflecting the ongoing lack of insurance in emerging and developing countries.
* European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said it would be "basically impossible" for the U.K. to strike a deal that would outline and cover all aspects of its future relations with the EU before year-end, Reuters reported. Speaking at a conference in London yesterday, von der Leyen called the transition period "very, very tight." Britain is due to leave the bloc on Jan. 31 and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously said he will not seek to extend the transition period. ECB policymaker Klaas Knot, meanwhile, said a no-deal Brexit by year-end is still possible and could hurt foreign trade, Reuters reported.
UK AND IRELAND
* Some U.K. banks including Lloyds Banking Group PLC, Barclays PLC and Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC have put on hold customers looking to buy foreign currency following a cyberattack on Travelex, where they get their foreign notes, BBC News reported.
* The U.K. Financial Services Compensation Scheme made several key decisions regarding the claims of former bondholders of collapsed firm London Capital & Finance PLC. The scheme said it is unable to protect the 283 bondholders who transacted with LCF before it was regulated, among other decisions.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA
* An IT glitch that affected Germany's Deutsche Kreditbank AG on Tuesday has been traced to a significant cyberattack on IT service provider Finanz Informatik, to whom DKB had outsourced some of its technology, Handelsblatt reported. Other banks affected were Bavaria's Bayern LB, Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen and 400 Sparkasse banks. German financial authority Bafin is yet to comment on the matter as it seeks urgent input from the banks affected about the causes of the attacks.
* Deutsche Bank AG asset management unit DWS Group GmbH & Co. KGaA bought a 24.9% minority interest in U.K.-based Arabesque AI Ltd. for an undisclosed sum. Arabesque AI is an artificial intelligence company used in predicting stock price developments.
* Julius Bär Gruppe AG has been served a renewed claim by the liquidator of a Lithuanian corporation claiming that the Swiss private bank failed to prevent two of its clients from embezzling assets. The case has been junked in Lithuania before but the new suit was filed in Geneva. The new claim amounts to €335 million plus 5% interest since December 2011. Julius Bär is still contesting the claim.
* The private investigator who had been hired to spy on former Credit Suisse Group AG banker Iqbal Khan filed counter criminal complaints against the banker, who is now with UBS Group AG, Reuters reported.
* Bitcoin Suisse AG, which aims to obtain a banking license in 2020, plans to launch an IPO, founder Niklas Nikolajsen and CEO Arthur Vayloyan told finews.com.
FRANCE AND BENELUX
* French parliamentarians voted through a formal notice to the government, asking it to weaken the Basel III regulatory requirements, Le Monde reported. The parliamentarians based their notice on European Banking Authority estimates showing that if Basel III is put in place, European banks will have to boost capital reserves by 24%, with the burden falling mainly on French banks.
* French regulator AMF is preparing guidelines on activist shareholders in the light of concerns over the Muddy Waters/Casino conflict, which was marked by claims of short selling by Muddy Waters, La Tribune reported. Le Figaro also covered and said it is likely that measures will include making it compulsory to declare a participation once 3% of a firm's shares are held, down from 5% now.
* ABN Amro Bank NV's supervisory board will appoint Robert Swaak CEO, replacing Kees van Dijkhuizen during the Dutch lender's April 22 general meeting. Swaak, whose appointment is subject to regulatory approval, formerly served as management board chairman of PwC Netherlands.
SPAIN AND PORTUGAL
* Banco Santander SA injected €335 million into new real estate development company Landmark, which was created last year to develop the land the Spanish lender has on its books, El Economista reported. Santander may reportedly spin off part of the company to clean up its balance sheet.
* Oitante, the company that was established to manage the toxic assets of failed lender Banif-Banco Internacional do Funchal SA, has repaid another €24.7 million of the financing it was granted in 2015 as part of the bank's resolution, Jornal de Negócios reported. The payment means 73.3% of the €746 million debt has now been repaid.
ITALY AND GREECE
* The temporary administrators of Banca Popolare di Bari SCpA said a potential €1.4 billion capital deficit at the bank is an initial estimate that would have to be confirmed following a due diligence process, Reuters reported.
* Generali completed the acquisition of Portugal-based Seguradoras Unidas SA and service company AdvanceCare - Gestão de Serviços de Saúde SA. The Italian insurance group acquired the companies from entities majority-owned by investment funds managed by certain affiliates of Apollo Global Management Inc. for a consideration of €510 million for Seguradoras Unidas and €90 million for AdvanceCare.
* SoftBank Group's interest in doValue SpA has been cut to 26.9% from 43.9% due to a shareholder reshuffle that increased the Italian bad loan specialist's free float, Reuters reported.
* Banco BPM SpA Chairman Carlo Fratta Pasini said he would not seek another term when the current board's mandate expires with the approval of the 2019 balance sheet, Il Sole 24 Ore wrote. Massimo Tononi, former chairman of Cassa depositi e prestiti SpA and Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, is seen as one possible candidate to replace him.
* Denmark-based Jyske Bank A/S expects to book a net profit of roughly 2.4 billion kroner for the 2019 full year, about 400 million kroner above its previous forecast. The bank is set to release its 2019 annual report Feb. 25.
* Stefan Ingves, governor of Sweden's central bank, signaled that a rate increase is not on the horizon since the regulator would let inflation breach targets for a while, Bloomberg News reported, citing minutes of the bank's meeting in December when it raised its main rate to 0%.
* Iceland-based Tryggingamiðstöðin hf. completed its acquisition of Lykill fjármögnun hf. for 9.25 billion kronur.
* Russian investment company Region Investment Co ZAO closed a deal to purchase small non-state pension fund NPF Federation, Kommersant reported, adding that the assets of Region's pension division increased to over 550 billion rubles following the deal.
* OTP Bank Nyrt. CEO and Chairman Sándor Csányi said the Hungarian lender is open to purchasing more banks in Slovenia following its recent acquisition of Société Générale SA's Slovenian units, Reuters reported. OTP Bank plans to increase its Slovenian market share to about 25% to 30% and expand into new territories, including Asia.
* Poland-based Alior Bank SA plans to revamp its branch network, with 30 branches in a new format to be opened by 2020-end, Parkiet wrote.
* Bulgarian lender Investbank JSC plans to increase its capital by up to 23.9 million Bulgarian leva, with its shareholders to vote on the proposed capital hike on Feb. 10, SEENews reported. The bank wants to offer 21,944,445 new shares for subscription to existing shareholders and also plans to repay two perpetual bond issues worth 39.21 million leva under the condition their holders agree to invest proceeds from the bond buyback to acquire additional 1,960,500 shares of the lender.
* The Romanian central bank decided to keep its monetary policy rate unchanged at 2.50% per annum and maintain the deposit facility and lending facility rates at 1.50% and 3.50% per annum, respectively.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: China drafts financial leasing rules; India may raise rating agencies' fine
Middle East & Africa: Bank Hapoalim to ax more than 900 jobs by 2022; Mubadala cuts stake in UniCredit
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
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Sheryl Obejera, Daniel Stephens, Danielle Rossingh, Esben Svendsen, Beata Fojcik, Heather O'Brian, Brian McCulloch, Sophie Davies and Helen Popper contributed to this report.
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