* Switzerland-based Bank for International Settlements has invited the central banks of Kuwait, Morocco and Vietnam to join its central bank membership base. The BIS' Committee on the Global Financial System and Markets Committee will also invite Russia to join, while Turkey was invited to join the Markets Committee.
* The European Commission laid out plans to mobilize at least €1 trillion of sustainable investments over the next decade to achieve its target of climate neutrality by 2050, but faced criticism over the low volume of direct funding.
* U.S. investment bank Houlihan Lokey Inc. has set up an equity advisory business in Europe, Financial News reported. William Marshall, who was appointed head the firm's new European equity capital markets advisory unit, said Houlihan Lokey is "actively hiring" for the division.
UK AND IRELAND
* Jon Hancock is stepping down as Lloyd's of London's performance management director this year.
* U.K.-based First Derivatives PLC appointed Seamus Keating the CEO, effective immediately. Keating succeeds the company's founder Brian Conlon, who died in July 2019. Donna Troy, a nonexecutive director, is appointed chairman.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA
* UBS Group AG has kicked off a round of staff layoffs at its global wealth management unit in Europe and Asia, insiders told Bloomberg News. The Swiss bank is cutting up to 20% of the workforce in a number of European teams and is cutting management layers in Asia in a bid to bring its clients closer to top decision-makers.
* Meanwhile, Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission has lifted its suspension of UBS' local unit UBS Securities Hong Kong Ltd. to act as an IPO sponsor, two months earlier than the regulator had said.
* Germany-based Aareal Bank AG faced renewed calls from activist investor Teleios Capital Partners LLC to review a full sale of its software business Aareon AG, Reuters reported, citing Teleios Capital co-founder Adam Epstein. The bank recently ruled out a sale of the business in the near term.
* Chinese conglomerate Fosun International Ltd. is considering a potential sale, among other options, of its Germany-based insurance business, Frankfurter Leben Holding Gmbh & Co. Kg, sources told Bloomberg News. A review of options for the business is still at an early stage, according to the report.
* Switzerland's largest online bank Swissquote Group Holding AG raised its 2019 pretax profit forecast to CHF50 million, compared to its initial CHF44 million estimate, finews.ch wrote.
* The Swiss National Bank defended its currency interventions, saying they are purely motivated by monetary policy considerations and are not aimed at giving Switzerland a trading advantage by weakening the Swiss franc, Reuters reported.
FRANCE AND BENELUX
* Crédit Agricole Group's online bank BforBank required a €30 million injection at the end of last year and is likely to book 2019 losses higher than the €78.5 million it reported in 2018, L'gefi reported.
* Belgian bank Argenta Spaarbank NV has closed 27 of its ATMs after a series of thefts using explosives, De Tijd reported. The bank has reopened some of its ATMs that were targeted but has decided to shut down the ones that pose too great a risk.
SPAIN AND PORTUGAL
* Self Trade Bank SAU will be renamed Singular Bank as part of a strategy under which it aims to offer more value-added services to its customers and "start making money" by the end of 2022, Europa Press wrote, citing the Spanish online bank's CEO, Javier Marín. The entity is controlled by U.S. private equity fund Warburg Pincus LLC.
* Bank of Spain Deputy Governor Margarita Delgado said a merger between Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA and Bankia SA is "not on the table" from the government's point of view, adding that the two entities must present a "viable and credible plan" for any merger to be authorized, El País reported.
ITALY AND GREECE
* Banca IFIS SpA aims to achieve a net profit of €147 million in 2022, compared to an estimated €123 million expected for 2019 as part of its new three-year plan. CEO Luciano Colombini has ruled out any M&A in the near term after the bank failed to strike a debt recovery deal with rival Credito Fondiario SpA last year.
* Intesa Sanpaolo SpA CEO Carlo Messina said he does not see any European M&A opportunity this year, adding that he expects bank consolidation to take more time as European regulations have made it harder to clinch synergies necessary for a successful merger, Reuters reported.
* Unione di Banche Italiane SpA reached an agreement with unions for the hiring of 150 new staff and the exit of 300 workers all on a voluntary basis with access to the Solidarity Fund or their pension, most dailies including MF wrote.
* UniCredit SpA has named Aurelio Maccario its new chief lending officer, replacing Andrea Varese who will take on a new role within the company. Maccario was appointed head of regulatory affairs in 2015.
* A change in Società Cattolica di Assicurazione - SC's governance structure is also in the agenda of the insurer's extraordinary general meeting, marking one of the first moves by newly appointed CEO Carlo Ferraresi, according to MF.
* Sweden-based private equity and venture capital firm EQT Partners AB is planning a new equity fund, EQT IX, and is aiming to raise a record-high sum of €14.75 billion, Dagens Industri reported. EQT raised €10.75 billion for its last equity fund EQT VIII in 2018.
* Russian mobile network operator MTS, which is the sole owner of PJSC MTS Bank, is set to acquire 5 billion rubles worth of additional shares to be issued by the lender, Kommersant reported. The bank said it needs additional funds to build a single digital ecosystem including MTS services, while experts cited by the newspaper say the lender could use the financial resources to expand retail lending and to set aside additional loan loss provisions.
*PAO Sberbank of Russia could invest around 200 billion rubles per year into nonfinancial assets and has the potential to transform the Russian Internet sector, according to a recent Morgan Stanley report cited by Russian news outlet RBC. Sberbank's investments in nonfinancial assets reportedly became the reason for the dispute between the lender and its majority shareholder, the Russian central bank, which believes that the development of ecosystems offering nonfinancial services could create non-competitive market advantages for banks, such as access to clients' personal data.
* Poland's Court for Competition and Consumer Protection maintained the 2018 decision of the local competition watchdog imposing an over 20 million zloty fine on Millennium BCP 's Polish unit Bank Millennium SA for misleading its clients holding mortgage loans in Swiss francs, news agency PAP reported. The bank plans to appeal the ruling.
* Commerzbank AG will today start accepting nonbinding offers for its Polish unit mBank SA, with Powszechny Zakład Ubezpieczeń SA, PKO Bank Polski SA, Crédit Agricole and Erste Group Bank AG all expected to submit bids for the lender, Parkiet said.
* Romania-based Banca Transilvania SA intends to purchase a 100% stake in Î.M. OMF Microinvest SRL, which provides financing to small businesses in Moldova, and is currently seeking approvals for the acquisition from market regulators, SEENews reported.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: Thai bank eyes Myanmar bank stake; Australian banks want tighter fintech rules
Middle East & Africa: QNB FY'19 result; Bank Audi's Egypt unit receives interest; Old Mutual wins case
Latin America: Integration for 3 LatAm bourses studied; Banco BV IPO scheduled for April
North America: JPMorgan's Q4'19 profit up YOY; Visa, Plaid in $5.3B deal
Global Insurance: Aussie bushfire losses jump; cyber tops business risks; Iran crash payout
NOW FEATURED ON S&P GLOBAL MARKET INTELLIGENCE
EU at risk of missing 2022 deadline for final Basel III capital rules: EU authorities may miss the Jan. 1, 2022, deadline for the implementation of the final Basel III capital requirements as the debate on the best way to transpose the rules into law is still ongoing and agreement is not yet in sight.
Europe's top motor insurers continue profitable streak but challenges remain: The bulk of the top 16 motor insurers in Europe reported combined ratios below 100%. However, industry-wide figures indicate the motor liability portion of the business, in particular, is still a difficult area for companies.
Deza Mones, Daniel Stephens, Meike Wijers, Esben Svendsen, Beata Fojcik, Yael Schrage, Brian McCulloch, Sophie Davies, and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.
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