Editor's note: This feature will not be published Dec. 26 and Dec. 27. The next article will be published Dec. 28.
* Bank of China (Hong Kong) Ltd., an indirectly owned subsidiary of Bank of China Ltd., will sell its 70.49% stake in Chiyu Banking Corp. Ltd. to Xiamen International Investment Ltd. for HK$7.69 billion.
* A consortium of companies comprising Shanghai Stock Exchange, Shenzhen Stock Exchange, Chinese Futures Exchange, Pak-China Investment Company and Habib Bank Ltd. won the bid for a 40% stake in Pakistan Stock Exchange, The Express Tribune reported. The winning bid amounted to 8.96 billion Pakistani rupees, or 28 rupees per share. A total of four strategic investors placed their bids.
* Taiwan's central bank decided to keep its benchmark rate unchanged at 1.375% on the back of improved economic indicators, Bloomberg News reported.
* Indian conglomerate Tata Sons Ltd. and partner AIA Group Ltd. are looking to acquire a 70% stake in PNB MetLife India Insurance Co. Ltd. and then merge the company with their joint venture Tata AIA Life Insurance Co. Ltd. The Hindu reported, citing minutes of a Tata Sons' board meeting.
* Chinese brokerage Sealand Securities, which has been involved in a bond scandal, said it agreed with counterparties to share possible losses relating to fraudulent bond agreements amounting up to 16.5 billion yuan, Reuters reported.
* Ma Jun, chief economist of the People's Bank of China, said that the central bank would exert efforts to have yuan-denominated bonds included in the international bond index, Tencent Finance reported.
* China's insurance regulator is tightening insurance license issuance to cut risks resulting from the aggressive business and investment practices of some insurers, Reuters reported, citing three people with knowledge of the matter. The sources said concerns about asset purchases and trading conducted by some insurers as well as its focus on new solvency rules are among the reasons for the cautious approach by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission.
* The China Banking Regulatory Commission approved the launch of Zhongguancun Bank, the first private bank in Beijing, Reuters reported. The bank, with a registered capital of 4 billion yuan, will provide financial services mainly to individual clients and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
JAPAN AND KOREA
* Koichi Miyata, president of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc., said the company is considering boosting overseas bonds investments in 2017, with foreign bonds investment expected to exceed Japanese government bonds, Bloomberg News reported. The company was said to be eyeing U.S. Treasury bonds amid an upcoming rate hike.
* The tender period for Korea Development Bank's life insurance unit has closed, with industry insiders projecting the acquisition price to be about 900 billion won, the Asia Economic Daily reported. Among the bidders, one unidentified Chinese financial firm has participated in the bidding.
* The Bank of Korea and the country's Ministry of Strategy and Finance selected 12 banks, including six South Korean banks and six non-Korean lenders, to operate in the won-yuan direct market, the Korea Economic Daily reported.
* Woori Bank and Hanwha Life Insurance Co. Ltd. signed a memorandum of agreement for a joint project to cultivate the bancassurance and fintech-related businesses in global markets with a focus on Southeast Asian regions, the Korea Economic Daily reported.
* Standard Chartered Plc is transferring its retail banking business in Thailand to TISCO Financial Group PCL. TISCO Financial said the assets to be transferred have a net value of around 5.50 billion baht as of Sept. 30.
* Post Today reported that the Bank of Thailand will offer 30 billion baht of bonds with a 14-day maturity in a bid to absorb excess liquidity.
* The ROE of Indonesia's 10 largest banks in September dropped to 12.2% from 14.7% for the prior-year period, in line with slowing growth of banks' profit, according to David Sumual, an economist at PT Bank Central Asia Tbk, Bisnis Indonesia reported.
* The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas will offer regulatory incentives for M&A aimed at consolidating banks to boost competitiveness, The Philippine Star reported, citing a memorandum issued by Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla.
* The Indian government is working to enact laws to define obligations and liabilities related to electronic payment channels including e-wallets, payment gateways and prepaid cards, Mint reported, citing Aruna Sundararajan, secretary of the ministry of electronics and information technology.
* Fintech company Paynear said it will introduce a multichannel cashless platform via mobile point-of-sale terminals, which can facilitate microtransactions and cash payments, The Hindu Business Line reported.
* Bangladeshi Finance Minister AMA Muhith said that laws on mergers and bankruptcy are being formulated and should be finalized within a few years, The Financial Express reported.
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
* The Australian Securities & Investments Commission will take Westpac Banking Corp. to court over a breach of new financial advice legislation by wealth management arms BT Financial Group and Westpac Securities, The Australian reported. The entities allegedly encouraged clients to specifically consolidate into the bank's superannuation fund.
* National Australia Bank Ltd.'s internet and phone banking platforms were briefly unavailable Dec. 22, prompting complaints from customers, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. ATMs and point-of-sale terminals were unaffected by the downtime.
* New Zealand's mortgage market continued to see a downtrend in November resulting from tighter lending regulations by the central bank, Scoop Media reported. The new regulations relating to loan to value ration came into force Oct. 1.
Middle East & Africa: Top Israeli bank set for international exit; Nigeria takes to the Internet
Europe: MPS poised for state bailout; EU banks exceeding liquidity rules
Latin America: 7 Mexican banks maintain SIFI designation; DBRS confirms Mexico
North America: Trump names special adviser on regulations; NY DFS delays cybersecurity rules
North America Insurance: Aetna-Humana trial could be decided in early 2017; ACA sign-ups exceed 6 million
Sally Wang, Sarun Saelee, Cathy Hwang, Emi White and Aditya Suharmoko contributed to this report.
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