* China's State Administration of Foreign Exchange said it plans to remove more red tape for cross-border money flows in 2020, stepping up trial run in onshore free trade zones. The country's foreign-exchange regulator also said market stability will remain the top policy goal for next year.
* JPMorgan Chase & Co. is considering a significant increase of investment in asset management, securities, futures and options businesses in China, China Daily reported, citing the bank's China CEO Mark Leung. The lender also hopes to gain full ownership of its Chinese joint ventures "when the timing is right."
* Ant Financial Services Group and U.S.-based Vanguard Group Inc. have established a joint venture to provide advisory services to retail investors in China, Reuters reported.
* Bank of Guizhou Co. Ltd is looking to raise up to HK$5.74 billion from an IPO in Hong Kong to improve the Chinese city commercial lender's capital levels and financing channels. Shares will begin trading Dec. 30.
* Anbang Insurance Group Co. Ltd. is close to selling its stake in Chengdu Rural Commercial Bank Co. Ltd. to state-owned Chengdu Xingcheng Investment Group Co. Ltd. for an unspecified sum, Caixin reported, citing unnamed sources. The beleaguered insurer had in January shelved the sale as there were no buyer.
* China Cinda Asset Management Co. Ltd. sold its entire 50.995% stake in life and health insurance subsidiary Happy Life Insurance Co. Ltd. for 7.5 billion yuan. The buyers are Champion Property & Casualty Insurance Co.,Ltd. and DongGuan Communications Investment Group Co., Ltd..
* Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. named Zhang Qingsong vice chairman, effective upon approval from China's Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission. Zhang was appointed the bank's president in November.
* China has detained the Li Yonghui, CEO and chairman of Fincera Inc., for suspected illegal acceptance of public funds, Reuters reported. Legal representative Shen Hui and some others have also been detained. Fincera was forced to shutter earlier this year amid the nation's crackdown on P2P lenders.
* Japan Post Holdings Co. Ltd. could face administrative penalties, or even a partial business suspension order, by the end of December over allegedly inappropriate sales of insurance policies at Japan Post Insurance Co. Ltd. and JAPAN POST Co. Ltd., The Japan Times reported, citing informed sources. Meanwhile, Bloomberg News reported that Japan Post Holdings could release a final report on those products as early as Dec. 18, citing the Yomiuri Shimbun.
* South Korean Financial Supervisory Service proposed a fine totaling 25.5 billion won on six banks for failing to inform investors the risk involved in currency derivative contracts sold between 2005 and 2008, The Korea Herald reported. They include Shinhan Bank Co. Ltd., Woori Bank, Korea Development Bank, KEB Hana Bank, DGB Daegu and Citigroup Inc..
* The South Korean financial regulator also plans to hold a new round of hearings early next year to look into banks' recent sale of complex derivative-linked fund products to retail investors who have suffered steep losses, the Chosun Ilbo reported, citing government officials from the regulator.
* The Philippines central bank could begin slashing rates again as early as February 2020, Bloomberg News reported citing Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno. Diokno also said the central bank plans to cut reserve requirement ratios for commercial banks and nonbank financial institutions to single digits from 14% by 2023.
* Thailand's Securities and Exchange Commission plans to unveil on Dec. 19 revised listing and trading rules which will allow small companies and startups to raise funds in the capital market more easily.
* Thailand's Government Savings Bank plans to become the first lender in the country to let borrowers of good standing refinance their credit-card debt, heeding the central bank's call, Krungthep Turakij reported.
* Thailand's Kasikornbank PCL has applied for licenses to open branches in Vietnam, Indonesia and Myanmar, The Nation reported, citing CEO Kattiya Indaravijaya. She expects to receive at least one license next year.
* Shinhan Bank Co. Ltd. will integrate its operations in Cambodia and Myanmar into its Vietnam unit from January 2020, BusinessKorea reported. The bank may expand this strategy to other regions later.
* Singapore's sovereign fund Temasek Holdings (Pte.) Ltd. increased its stake in India's AU Small Finance Bank Ltd. to 4.8% for 5.25 billion rupees, Mint reported. The investment is part of Temasek's plan to invest up to 10 billion rupees in the lender, the report added.
* The Reserve Bank of India created a new, collateralized intraday liquidity facility under the national electronic funds transfer payment system, which will enable banks to settle transfers around the clock.
* The Reserve Bank of India is considering subjecting nonbank financial companies and cooperative banks to stricter regulations that are currently imposed on banks, such as disclosure in asset classification and provisioning, Business Standard reported.
* India's Housing Development Finance Corp. Ltd. completed the acquisition of the remaining 9.12% stake in subsidiary HDFC Credila Financial Services Private Ltd. for 3.95 billion rupees.
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
* An independent report on Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd.'s New Zealand business by Deloitte, commissioned by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, identified a number of lapses, such as not holding as much capital as required by the central bank, The Australian reported. Deputy Governor Geoff Bascand said the central bank will continue to work with the lender until its operations meet the required standards.
* The Australian Securities & Investments Commission is mulling a legal action against IOOF Holdings Ltd. for allegedly charging advice fees where no services were provided, The Australian reported.
* Shyamal Chand rejoined RBC Capital Markets as a director in its infrastructure team, after leaving for the U.S. investment bank Jefferies Group less than a year ago, The Australian Financial Review reported in its Street Talk blog.
Aries Poon, Sally Wang, Sarun Saelee, Cathy Hwang, Emi White and Aditya Suharmoko contributed to this report.
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