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China halts LSE stock link; Commerzbank eyes comdirect stake; HSBC bets on ETFs


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China halts LSE stock link; Commerzbank eyes comdirect stake; HSBC bets on ETFs

* China has temporarily suspended planned cross-border listings between the stock exchanges of Shanghai and London due to political tensions with the U.K., sources told Reuters.

* The eurozone's 10 largest lenders, including Deutsche Bank AG and UniCredit SpA, are expected to see their capital requirements stabilize this year, potentially creating space for higher dividends and buybacks and strengthening bank stocks, Bloomberg News wrote, citing recent filings.

* Incoming ECB Executive Board member Isabel Schnabel told German publication Börsen-Zeitung that it would be "rather problematic" if the central bank were to favor green bonds in its multitrillion-euro bond purchase program or its work as banking regulator, saying the ECB "needs the flexibility to reverse monetary policy if necessary," Reuters wrote.


* HSBC Holdings PLC plans to launch eight exchange traded funds linked to environmental, social and governance investment in the first half of 2020 in an effort to revive its fund arm, HSBC Global Asset Management CEO Nicolas Moreau told the Financial Times. HSBC also intends to establish a fixed-income ETF platform in 2020 and launch a range of precious metals tracker funds.

* Lloyds Banking Group PLC confirmed that thousands of customers across all of its three retail banks — Halifax, Bank of Scotland PLC and Lloyds — were unable to access internet and mobile banking services yesterday due to a system outage that lasted for nearly eight hours, according to the FT.

* Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Ltd., which trades as LV=, completed the sale of its remaining 51% stake in LV= General Insurance to Germany's Allianz Group.

* Quilter PLC completed the sale of Quilter Life Assurance to ReAssure Group PLC for a total cash consideration of approximately £445 million. The deal includes ReAssure's acquisition of Quilter's heritage life and pensions division, Old Mutual Wealth Life Assurance Ltd.

* Gordon Dalyell, president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, has called for postponing the introduction of a new insurance claims system designed to reduce payouts for whiplash injuries, saying a delay would ensure that victims have access to advice, the FT wrote. Meanwhile, James Dalton, director of general insurance at the Association of British Insurers, said he does not see any public-policy justification for a delay. The system is due to be rolled out in April.


* Commerzbank AG is in advanced negotiations to potentially acquire U.K.-based hedge fund Petrus Advisers LLP's 7.5% stake in German digital lender comdirect bank AG, insiders told Bloomberg, adding that a possible deal could be disclosed in the coming days or weeks. A deal would increase Commerzbank's holding in comdirect to roughly 90%, giving the German lender the legal right to squeeze out its unit's remaining shareholders after failing to buy them out three weeks ago.

* Commerzbank's IT system suffered another blackout on Monday as clients were unable to place buy orders through the lender's online trading portal, Handelsblatt noted, adding that it was the second such issue since October.

* Negotiations about a close cooperation or even a merger between DekaBank Deutsche Girozentrale and Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen Girozentrale with the possibility to create a new "super central bank" will commence this month, according to Handelsblatt.

* Felix Hufeld, president of Germany's federal financial supervisory authority BaFin, said in an interview with Börsen-Zeitung that there will be new regulations on restriction of data use in the financial sector in the future to address issues "with the availability of even larger amounts of data and their evaluation options," adding that balancing the use of such data would be an essential task "in the coming years, if not decades" and that banks should be prepared.

* About 650 new banking jobs have been created in Frankfurt last year, mainly due to the Brexit effect, bringing the total number of bankers working in the city to 63,900, Börsen-Zeitung wrote, adding that expectations are that the number will further grow to 64,500 by 2021 despite the pan-European trend of job cuts in the finance industry. Banks are planning to cut a total of 63,700 jobs over the coming years across Europe alone, according to Handelszeitung.

* Wealthy investors from Germany and Switzerland are purportedly behind a $500-million capital injection offer by little-known London-based Citax Holdings Ltd. and its Singapore unit Citax Investment Group Pte. Ltd. into India's ailing Yes Bank Ltd., one of the largest private banks on the subcontinent which stands at the brink of collapse, Handelsblatt reported.

* Switzerland's financial market regulator Finma is looking into potential irregularities at Cembra Money Bank AG, which has discovered inconsistencies involving misleading client data during its own internal investigation, an apparent regulatory lapse which could result in a CHF10-million fine, Inside Paradeplatz reported.


* European Central Counterparty NV, which is the subject of a takeover by Cboe Global Markets Inc., has put in place a credit facility of up to €1.5 billion after regulators identified weaknesses in a stress test. EuroCCP said the associated costs would impact profitability, and that it would probably report a loss in the coming two to three years.

* French President Emmanuel Macron said he expected his government to quickly find a comprise with unions on a restructuring of the country's pension system while maintaining the principles laid out by ministers, Reuters wrote.


* Portuguese Finance Minister Mário Centeno responded to rumors regarding the possibility of Novo Banco SA getting a single capital injection, rather than in tranches, of the money it is yet to receive from the central bank, saying that he has not yet received any formal request for a one-time deposit, Jornal de Negócios wrote.


* Italian interbank deposit fund FITD said it is prepared to cover half of the potential €1.4 billion cash injection for Banca Popolare di Bari SCpA, Reuters reported. State-controlled Banca del Mezzogiorno - MedioCredito Centrale SpA cleared a plan to meet the other 50% of Popolare di Bari's capital needs but will end up owning over 50% of the bank since FITD's contribution will largely go to cover past losses, according to MF.

* Arrow Global Group PLC CEO Lee Rochford told Corriere della Sera that Italy is among the countries in which the U.K.-based credit management services provider plans to grow. He added that Brexit will not have any impact on the firm's nonperforming loan management business in Europe.


* The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development sold its entire 10% stake in Borsa İstanbul AS to the Turkish sovereign wealth fund for an undisclosed sum. The deal brings the fund's total holding in the Turkish bourse to 90.6%.

* BNP Paribas Bank Polska SA set aside a 20.8 million zloty provision in relation to the ECJ's September ruling regarding the proportional reimbursement of fees in case of early loan repayment, news agency PAP reported. The total amount of provisions set aside by the BNP Paribas SA unit for this purpose now amounts to 69.6 million zlotys, with a 48.8 million zloty provision set aside in the third quarter of 2019.


Asia-Pacific: China cuts banks' reserve ratio; 2 Indian banks to exit Sri Lanka

Middle East & Africa: Oman Arab Bank plans merger with Alizz Islamic Bank; African bourses to link up


Britain's biggest banks use their muscle to challenge fintech rivals: Traditional high street banks like the Royal Bank of Scotland are launching digital-only services to take on upstart fintechs but combine them with access to a trove of customer information from existing operations.

Protection gap persists across insurance world, despite some progress: The rift between insured and economic losses continues to widen, despite a series of products and initiatives, but the efforts of the industry and governments have not been in vain, experts say.

Deza Mones, Arno Maierbrugger, Meike Wijers, Gerard O'Dwyer, Beata Fojcik, Heather O'Brian, Brian McCulloch, Praxilla Trabattoni and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.

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