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L&G circles Pru annuity biz; Monte dei Paschi posts loss; Talanx raises guidance

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L&G circles Pru annuity biz; Monte dei Paschi posts loss; Talanx raises guidance

* European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is poised to unveil in September measures aimed at tightening the screening process of foreign takeovers of European firms in a bid to address concerns over the rise of Chinese investment into certain sectors in the region, insiders told the Financial Times. The commission is also said to be considering a proposal to introduce EU-level investment screening.

* Britain will completely leave the EU's single market and customs union after it exits the bloc in 2019, U.K. Chancellor Philip Hammond and Trade Minister Liam Fox have jointly declared, The Daily Telegraph reported. The ministers, however, pledged that there will be a transition period in place immediately after the country leaves the bloc but that it would not be indefinite or become a way to stay in the EU through a "back door."

* The Central Bank of Ireland has called on the European Securities and Markets Authority to investigate asset managers' disclosure of fees amid mounting concerns that investors are being overcharged, the Financial Times reported.

UK AND IRELAND

* The merger of Aberdeen Asset Management Plc and Standard Life Plc is now complete, following the go-ahead from the Court of Session in Edinburgh. Standard Life is renamed Standard Life Aberdeen, with Chairman Gerry Grimstone holding a similar post in the combined entity. Standard Life CEO Keith Skeoch and Aberdeen Asset Management CEO Martin Gilbert, who share the top executive role in Standard Life Aberdeen, were named as executive directors of the combined group, among other appointments.

* Legal & General Group Plc is considering bidding for a £10 billion chunk of Prudential Plc's annuity portfolio, an insider told The Times. L&G is said to have the capital to fund an acquisition of the business, or a smaller slice of it, when the sale process kicks off, but that it continues to be on the lookout for other options in the meantime. Other potential bidders for Prudential's annuities portfolio include Pension Insurance Corp. Plc and Rothesay Life Plc.

* Lloyds Banking Group Plc is to ramp up its push into the wealth management sector as part of its next three-year growth strategy in a bid to take advantage of the U.K.'s far-reaching pension reforms, the Financial Times reported. Lloyds' bancassurance offering will be the focus of the strategy, with a view to expand its pensions and investment products and roll them out to more customers, an insider told the newswire.

* Barclays Plc plans to close around 30 of its roughly 1,300 branches across the U.K. in October and November, City A.M. wrote. The branch closures are not expected to lead to job cuts.

* Separately, Barclays appointed Stephen Dainton global head of equities. Dainton was previously the head of Credit Suisse Group AG's global markets equities in Britain and Europe, the Middle East and Africa and as co-head of EMEA global markets.

* The Central Bank of Ireland plans to setup a company-by-company database of financial statements and attributes of the roughly 300,000 firms incorporated in the country to meet ECB regulations and keep an eye on shadow banking, the Irish Independent wrote.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* Deutsche Börse AG Chief Risk officer Marcus Thompson has left the group, insiders told Handelsblatt. Thompson has been with the stock exchange operator since October 2013. The departure comes as Deutsche Börse seeks to restructure its compliance department, after CEO Carsten Kengeter has been embroiled in an insider trading case.

* HSH Nordbank AG considers another waiver of unrecoverable debt, this time €680 million owed by illiquid German-Cypriot shipping company Schoeller Holdings Ltd. and covered by the bank's state-guaranteed debt provisions, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote.

* Allianz Group is being sued by one of its insurance brokers, who alleges that the company is wrongly calculating pension plan payments for its self-employed representatives to the latter's detriment, Süddeutsche Zeitung reported. If the claim proves to be true, Allianz could be faced with a subsequent three-digit million-euro payment for a total of around 8,000 brokers.

* Talanx AG reported second-quarter consolidated net income attributable to shareholders of the company of €225 million, up from the year-ago adjusted attributable income of €181 million. For the first half, the group posted consolidated net income attributable to shareholders of the company of €463 million, compared to the adjusted attributable income of €403 million a year earlier. Talanx raised its group net income outlook for full year 2017 to roughly €850 million from about €800 million.

* Wüstenrot & Württembergische AG posted first-half consolidated net profit attributable to shareholders of the company of €154.2 million, mainly driven by the higher result from its property and casualty insurance segment, compared to €120.1 million in the year-ago period.

* Hamburg-based fintech Deposit Solutions Gmbh, an open banking platform, took over its Berlin-headquartered competitor Savedo GmbH, Handelsblatt wrote.

* UBS Group AG appointed David Chin head of its Asia-Pacific corporate client solutions business, Reuters reported. Chin, who is returning to the Swiss banking group after departing in 2015, will assume the role in early September, replacing Sam Kendall, who was named head of the bank's global equity capital market business.

* Austrian direct bank Hellobank BNP Paribas Austria AG is returning its banking license and will operate as new legal entity BNP Paribas SA Niederlassung Österreich from Oct. 1, fondsprofessionell.at reported. The company, however, intends to keep the brand name Hello Bank.

* Andreas Buri, CEO of mortgage-focused Swiss regional banking group Clientis AG, told Finews that the network of the company's currently 69 branches will be reduced in the future in the wake of automatization and changing customer preferences.

FRANCE AND BENELUX

* CNP Assurances SA has announced the end of its distribution agreement in Brazil with local partner Caixa Seguridade, Les Echos and Le Figaro reported. Caixa Seguridade has informed the French insurer that it will not renew this agreement after 2021 without a specific explanation. Brazil is the first international market for CNP Assurances.

SPAIN AND PORTUGAL

* The recent financial restructuring carried out by Banco Santander SA aimed at selling rapidly Banco Popular Español SA's nonperforming real estate loans has established a new reference benchmark for the Spanish banking sector in terms of the level of provisions on such assets expected by investors, El Confidencial wrote.

* Paulo Macedo, CEO of Portugal's Caixa Geral de Depósitos SA, said in an interview that the bank had to increase commissions in order to comply with an ongoing restructuring plan, but said current account charges would not rise, Expresso reported.

ITALY AND GREECE

* Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA reported reclassified consolidated net loss of €3.07 billion for the second quarter, compared to a reclassified net profit of €208.9 million a year ago. The troubled lender completed last week an €8 billion capital increase, of which €3.85 billion was provided by the state. The Italian government now holds a roughly 52.2% stake in Monte dei Paschi, with Generali holding a 4.3% stake, Reuters noted.

* Nearly €10 billion in Italian nonperforming loan disposals are now underway or slated to get underway by the end of this year, Il Sole 24 Ore wrote.

* The lifting of capital controls in Greece will be postponed to 2019 when the new credit line for banks is completed, according to bankingnews.gr.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Denmark's five biggest lenders — Danske Bank A/S, Nykredit Realkredit A/S, Jyske Bank A/S, Nordea Kredit Realkredit A/S and Sydbank A/S — could see their capital requirements reach $15 billion, according to an expert panel set up by the government, Bloomberg News reported. The panel said a proposal by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision to introduce a lower limit on regulatory buffers has failed to account for the low mortgage lending risks in the country, and cautioned that a limit would instead prompt banks to take part in riskier activities.

* The Danish Financial Supervisory Authority will make it possible for businesses to handle payment transactions themselves, without using payment service providers, Finanswatch reported. The businesses will have to be licensed to do so.

EASTERN EUROPE

* Russian lenders attracted more than 666 billion Russian rubles from the central bank via repo transactions Aug. 11, the highest sum so far in 2017, Vedomosti reported.

* The Russian central bank will ease rules regarding the calculation of reserves for insurance companies, a move that will allow large Russian insurers to free up as much as 10 billion Russian rubles in the next reporting quarter, Vedomosti said.

* Mikhail Polunin was named president of JSCB for Charity and Spiritual Development of Fatherland PERESVET, Kommersant reported. Polunin is the former vice president of JSC Russian Regional Development Bank, which currently controls Peresvet, following the launch of a financial recovery program for the latter lender.

* PJSC Bank Saint-Petersburg completed the placement of 60 million new ordinary shares, increasing its capital by 3.2 billion Russian rubles.

* The Polish government proposed the introduction of an additional capital buffer for banks, amounting to 3% of the total lending exposure, Parkiet reported.

* Polish banks expect their 2017 profit to be 10% lower than their 2016 results, news agency PAP reported, citing the Polish Financial Supervision Authority's report on the banking sector in the first quarter. The FSA noted, however, that the results could be better than expected, taking into account the significant capacity of banks to adapt to new conditions.

* The Polish Prosecutor's Office is looking into a 500 million Polish zlotys loan granted by the Polish central bank to SK Bank a few months before the lender collapsed in 2015, Rzeczpospolita reported, citing Polish daily Fakt. The central bank's loan was reportedly issued against SK Bank's portfolio consisting mostly of bad loans.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: Mitsubishi UFJ Financial expands Saudi Arabia ops; Bank of Baroda profit slips

Middle East & Africa: Kenya's incumbent president wins new term; Old Mutual unit names CFO

NOW FEATURED ON S&P GLOBAL MARKET INTELLIGENCE

Bank risk muted as UK watchdogs sound alarm over car finance surge: The Bank of England has called for extra vigilance following an explosion in volumes of car loans, which some commentators say has echoes of the subprime mortgage crisis. But mainstream banks are not the main source of growth in this segment.

Prudential Plc's 'odd' merger of UK businesses could be precursor to sale: CEO Mike Wells said the plan to combine the two businesses into a new entity called M&G Prudential was driven by a desire to create efficiency. But analysts said there may be be more to the deal than meets the eye.

Sheryl Obejera, Arno Maierbrugger, Danielle Rossingh, Esben Svendsen, Beata Fojcik, Mike Hatzidakis, Ali Kayalar, Heather O'Brian, Stephanie Salti, Praxilla Trabattoni, and Helen Popper contributed to this report.

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