* Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. of China Ltd.'s first-half consolidated net profit attributable to shareholders of the parent company was up 68.1% year over year to 97.68 billion Chinese yuan. The operating return on embedded value of the group was 11.2%.
* Chongqing Rural Commercial Bank Co. Ltd. obtained approval from the China Securities Regulatory Commission for an IPO in the A-shares market, Yicai reported. The bank's shareholders originally approved a resolution for the proposed IPO in 2016.
* Chang An Property & Liability Insurance Co. Ltd. obtained approval from the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission to increase its registered capital by 1.63 billion yuan, The Paper reported. Anhui GOHO Financial Asset Management Co. Ltd. became the largest shareholder with a 31.68% stake, while Bengbu Investment Group, an investment vehicle of the Anhui government in eastern China, became the second largest stakeholder with an 18.45% stake.
* The government of Hong Kong lowered the GDP growth forecast to 0% to 1% from the original forecast of 2% to 3%, Hong Kong Economic Journal reported. Financial Secretary Paul Chan said the city is facing global financial risks including the trade tension between the US and China, Brexit and the weak economic growth in other Asian countries, as well as domestic political issues which directly hit the retail, food and beverages and tourism sectors.
* Sustained political unrest in Hong Kong in the last few weeks has prompted a number of China-based firms to reconsider fundraising plans, Bloomberg News reported. One such company has postponed initial preparatory efforts for a Hong Kong IPO that was expected to raise US$500 million, and has opted to conduct the offering in the U.S., according to a veteran banker with knowledge of the deal.
JAPAN AND KOREA
* Japan eclipsed China in June as the top foreign holder of U.S. Treasurys, increasing its holdings to US$1.123 trillion from US$1.101 trillion in the prior month, latest data from the U.S. Treasury Department showed. China boosted its holdings to US$1.113 trillion from US$1.110 trillion in May following three straight months of decline.
* Mizuho Bank Ltd. said that Eurekahedge Pte. Ltd., its hedge fund research unit based in Singapore, lost customer information in a system breach discovered Aug. 8. Stolen information included names, mail addresses, telephone numbers and nationalities.
* The Korea Federation of Savings Banks, which represents 79 such lenders in the country, will establish an online banking platform as part of efforts to improve customer service and retain clients who prefer digital banking services, The Korea Times reported. The group said it expects to launch the platform as early as September.
* A bill to create a new law on peer-to-peer lending in South Korea is nearing passage by the National Assembly, The Chosun Ilbo reported. The legislation will pave the way for financial institutions' investment in peer-to-peer lending projects for up to 40% of the value.
* Government Housing Bank and Government Savings Bank decided to lower their loan interest rates, effective Aug. 16, in response to the Bank of Thailand's policy interest rate cut and following similar decisions by the country's four major banks, Post Today reported.
* Thailand's Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Co-operatives signed an agreement with 7-Eleven designating the convenience store chain as a banking agent, the bank said in a release. Bank customers will be able to save, withdraw, purchase savings certificates and pay bills at all branches of 7-Eleven nationwide from Aug. 19 onwards.
* Krungthai Card PCL's net profit for the first half stood at 2.91 billion baht, up 16% year over year, the company said in a release. Net profit for the second quarter stood at 1.32 billion baht. Nonperforming loans stood at 1.13%.
* PT Bank Agris Tbk and PT Bank Mitra Niaga Tbk are expected to receive regulatory approval for their proposed merger Aug. 22, Bisnis Indonesia reported. Bank Mintra Niaga's shares will be delisted from the stock exchange and converted into Bank Agris shares at a ratio of one Bank Mintra Niaga share for every 1,137 Bank Agris shares. The banks are units of Industrial Bank of Korea.
* PT Bank Mandiri (Persero) Tbk recorded an increase of approximately 10% in electronic data transactions during the first half of 2019, Bisnis Indonesia reported.
* Reliance Capital Ltd. saw its consolidated net profit for the first quarter surge 312.9% year over year to 12.18 billion rupees from 2.95 billion rupees in the prior-year quarter. The company's total income rose 31% to 60.83 billion rupees in the quarter ended June, from 46.41 billion rupees in the previous-year period.
* State-owned lender Union Bank of India has directed its zonal and regional branch heads to identify underperforming employees at its branches and monitor their performance for the next three quarters, in an effort to improve office culture, which the bank believes would help revive its operations, The Economic Times reported, citing Managing Director Rajkiran Rai.
* A report by the Reserve Bank of India revealed that key committees set up by Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd. — particularly those tasked with risk management and investment reviews — have not conducted meetings for at least three years, implying a lack of monitoring system in place for reviewing investment proposals, The Economic Times reported.
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
* MLC Ltd., National Australia Bank Ltd.'s wealth arm and a unit of Nippon Life Insurance Co., will undergo a restructuring effort that would lead to a reduction in the number of licensed advisers. As part of the restructuring plan, the company will consolidate advice brands and shutter NAB financial planning arms and MLC advice stores.
* Alex Wade, CEO of AMP Ltd.'s Australian wealth management division, has defended the company's decision to cut the number of self-employed associates from its network of advice licensees, saying the company will keep its aligned advice brands operational in the short term, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
* The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has banned Sydney-based Tarandeep Aujla, a former financial adviser at Infocus Securities Australia and Chaucer Group, for three years, after a surveillance conducted by the regulator found that the financial adviser pushed some insurance products to customers without considering their current insurance coverage. Aujla has been previously banned for 18 months by ASIC.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Middle East & Africa: Q2 profits rise at Israel's Leumi, Discount Bank; Namibia, Mozambique cut rates
Europe: Deutsche chair hunts for successor; Rabobank profit drops; Aegon, NN results up
Latin America: Argentina unveils economic relief measures; StoneCo's Q2 profit jumps 172.7%
North America: SEC charges Canaccord Genuity; Repay Holdings buys TriSource Solutions
Global Insurance: Global insured losses dip; Syncora selling unit; NN Group, Aegon report results
Janna Estares, Emily Lai, Jonathan Cheah, Jaekwon Lim and Santibhap Ussavasodhi contributed to this report.
The Daily Dose has an editorial deadline of 6:30 a.m. Hong Kong time. 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.