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Monday Express: California banks in deal; ex-PIMCO CEO to plead guilty

* San Diego-based Bank of Southern California NA agreed to acquire Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.-based CalWest Bancorp in an all-cash deal valued at about $32 million. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020.

* Former PIMCO CEO Douglas Hodge, who was charged in an alleged college bribery scheme, has agreed to plead guilty today, Bloomberg News reports, citing prosecutors. Hodge is one of those who have been accused in a nationwide scheme used by parents to secure admission for their children at top universities across the country.

* Goldman Sachs investment banker, Bryan Cohen, who was arrested over his alleged involvement in an insider trading scheme, has been released on bond and placed on leave by the company, Reuters reports, citing a Goldman Sachs spokeswoman. Cohen was arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and was sued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for improperly using insider information, which caused a co-conspirator to net $2.6 million in profits.

* Additionally, Goldman Sachs has established a team of 18 people in its securities division in an effort to ramp up sales and trading, Financial News reports. The new team aims to bring in thousands of new customers.

* Facebook's Libra project head, David Marcus, at a seminar said the initiative is open to exploring alternative approaches for the digital token it plans to use, Reuters reports. Marcus said that the project could use stablecoins backed by national currencies instead of the synthetic cryptocurrency it had proposed. The remarks come as skepticism and regulatory concerns around the project continue to mount.

* Thomson Reuters has started to look for an executive to succeed CEO Jim Smith, the Financial Times reports, citing four people with knowledge of the succession process. "The Board of Directors considers succession planning and benchmarking for all key executives a matter of good governance. Hence, the Board and management continuously assess internal candidates and work with search firms to scan the external market," the company said in a statement.

* TD Ameritrade and Zions are expected to report third-quarter earnings today.

* Reps. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., and Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y., have asked federal authorities to investigate a string of large S&P 500 e-mini futures trades to ascertain if insider trading or any other fraudulent behavior played a part. "While the aforementioned trades may be purely coincidental, their timing and scale raise serious suspicions about whether the traders received material nonpublic information that would affect the S&P and how they received such information," the lawmakers said in an Oct. 18 letter sent to the FBI, the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

* The Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation have requested public comment on the Uniform Financial Institutions Rating System, also known as the CAMELS rating system, which is used to grade banks' soundness and risk. Regulators are seeking to gather comments on how the CAMELS ratings are assigned to banks and to learn what the implications of those ratings are in enforcement action processes, to bring more transparency to the system.

* The Supreme Court will consider a case related to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's structure and level of independence. The plaintiff in the case, Seila Law LLC, gained the support in September of the Department of Justice and CFPB Director Kathleen Kraninger, who agreed that a president should be able to fire a director, citing the separation of powers clause, which gives a president the authority to remove a head of an agency at will.

* Centene's pending acquisition of WellCare Health Plans has received regulatory approval in five more states, which brings the total to 24 states. The companies expect the deal to close by the first half of 2020.

The Daily Dose: Express Edition is updated as of 6:30 a.m. ET. Some external links may require a subscription. Links are current as of publication time, and we are not responsible if those links are unavailable later.