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Cybercriminals target smaller Japanese banks, Australia's financial planner registry turns out to be a dud and AIA enjoys steady growth in the Asia market.

Sophisticated cyberattacks target small banks in Japan

Cybercriminals have increasingly turned their attention to smaller Japanese financial institutions, The Nikkei reported. In 2015, the amount of money illegally transferred to dummy accounts passed ¥3 billion, according to data from Japan's National Police Agency. Most of the attacks targeted small and medium-sized banks. Cybercriminals have become better at targeting Japanese banks and have surpassed the language barrier that had previously protected financial institutions in the country. Criminals are now sending fake e-mails written in fluent Japanese with viruses attached to them. Management at Japanese financial companies need to implement security policies to protect themselves, said a senior official at Japan's Financial Services Agency.

Foxes in charge of the hen house

Australia's national financial planning register, the government's answer to scandals plaguing the financial planning industry, has been largely a dud, wrote Adele Ferguson in The Sydney Morning Herald. Launched in March 2015 with the aim of improving transparency in the financial planning industry by tracking financial planners as they move through companies, the implementation of the register has been inconsistent and lacks integrity, Ferguson noted. The heart of the problem is that licensees, or companies, are expected to provide details of all advisers they authorize. The same companies that have been found to have bilked almost A$200 million from customers in fees. Ferguson pointed out that the current system is akin to placing the fox in charge of the henhouse.

AIA savors the sweet spot of insurance in Asia

AIA Group Ltd.'s secret to success in the competitive Chinese market is simple: focusing on quality not quantity, said Mark Tucker, CEO and president of AIA Group. The world's second-largest life insurer by market value will continue to focus on protection policies and the quality of its business in China to ensure growth, Tucker said, as reported by China Daily. AIA's new business value rose 37% to US$1.26 billion in the first half. The insurer's operating profit rose 14% in the first half, while net profit declined by 2% due to volatility in the stock and currency markets. Tucker is upbeat about the market in 2017 and believes that Asia will continue to grow in the future.

Costs and benefits of the currency swap

India's demonetization drive is a month underway and experts have argued over the costs and benefits of the scheme, Mint reported. Jahangir Aziz of JPMorgan pointed out that the currency shortage could put some companies out of business as they cannot operate in a noncash environment. The share of informal sector employment in India is 83.6% and almost all enterprises in that sector likely operate on a cash basis. The disruption to their business model could be severe and permanent.

Clearer regulatory guidelines on cloud services needed for Malaysian banks

Malaysian regulators need to provide greater support and guidance to Malaysian banks and financial services as they adopt cloud services, urged a Malaysian cloud advisory and cloud consultancy company. Cloud adoption by financial institutions could lead to better profit margins and cost efficiencies, The Star reported, citing Goh Kiang Kian, director of G-AsiaPacific Sdn. Bhd. He noted there was a huge delay in cloud adoption because there were no clear regulatory guidelines. Goh noted that the Monetary Authority of Singapore has come out in support of cloud services at several events in the last few months. Bank Negara Malaysia should also establish cloud adoption regulations to help boost the adoption of cloud services among local companies.