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Friday Express: Vanguard eyes UK advice sector; Illinois wealth firms in deal

* Asset management giant Vanguard Group received approval from the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority to begin offering retail investment advice in Britain, the Financial Times reports.

* Rockford, Ill.-based Savant Capital Management and Lincolnshire, Ill.-based Huber Financial Advisors have agreed to merge during the first quarter. The deal is expected to boost Savant Capital Management's assets under management to $3.1 billion in the Chicago area and $8 billion overall.

* For the quarter ending Dec. 31, 2019, PayPal Holdings expects to report a pretax gain of $38 million, or $29 million on an after-tax basis, on its strategic investments. The payment processor expects to see an impact on EPS for the quarter of 2 cents per share.

* The Federal Reserve Board of Governors and the Texas Department of Banking issued a cease and desist order against El Paso, Texas-based United Bank of El Paso del Norte, effective Dec. 30, 2019, after a recent examination found significant deficiencies in the bank's risk management and compliance with anti-money laundering regulations.

* In a letter to Wells Fargo CEO Charles Scharf, Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif. asked the company to pay back IT vendors who repaid the bank part of the revenue generated from contracts with the bank, Reuters reports. Porter reportedly argued that the bank was trying to recoup part of the regulatory fines it has paid by seeking partial refunds from the vendors.

* In recent interviews, Federal Reserve officials showed cautious optimism regarding the future of the U.S. economy hinting they are in no rush to change interest rates again. Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan told Reuters that the central bank's actions in the previous year put rates at a "roughly appropriate setting." Meanwhile, Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari said that the Fed's monetary policy easing has significantly reduced the risks of a recession.

* California Gov. Gavin Newsom is set to introduce a California Consumer Financial Protection Law, which will overhaul rules safeguarding consumers business implementing predatory practices, the Los Angeles Times reports. The proposed law will exchange the current Department of Business Oversight and rename it as the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation.

* On Jan. 1, property and casualty insurer United Insurance Holdings renewed its reinsurance agreements that provide coverage for in-force, new and renewal business.

* Chris Townsend, international general insurance CEO of American International Group, has stepped down, The Insurance Insider reports. Lex Baugh, global chief underwriting officer for casualty and financial lines, has replaced Townsend on an interim basis.

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