* Banks' growing reliance on cloud infrastructure provided by third parties could create new financial stability risks, the Financial Stability Board said in a report. Most cloud providers have "high technological and physical resilience," which means that a collapse is unlikely, although not impossible, the report noted. The FSB also said big tech's increasing presence in finance could affect the viability of the traditional financial institution business model.
* The flooding and inland storms experienced in western and southern Europe in November resulted in multibillion-dollar economic losses, according to Aon PLC's latest Global Catastrophe Recap. Flooding events in France, Italy and England are expected to result in combined economic losses of more than $1 billion.
* The EU reached an agreement on a classification system for green financing designed to jump-start sustainable investing within the bloc, parliamentarians said, and it will not include coal or nuclear. Under the framework, companies or financial products claiming to be sustainable will have to disclose how much of their investments are eco-friendly, the Greens/European Free Alliance said.
* Several global asset managers discussed with Chinese regulators their plans to apply for fully foreign-owned mutual fund licenses to operate in the country, insiders told Bloomberg News. The China Securities Regulatory Commission is removing foreign ownership caps on fund management companies starting April 1, 2020.
UK AND IRELAND
* The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has handed out fines totaling £391.8 million so far this year, marking the highest level since 2015, mainly driven by enforcement actions on mis-selling and financial crime, the Financial Times reported, citing data collated by RPC. The figure is also six times more than that recorded in 2018.
* HSBC Holdings PLC Chief Risk Officer Marc Moses is expected to announce his retirement "within days," insiders told Bloomberg News. Pam Kaur, head of the British banking group's wholesale market and credit risk, will reportedly take Moses' place. Meanwhile, Gregory Guyett and Georges Elhedery will reportedly become co-heads of HSBC's investment bank, splitting the leadership of the unit once Samir Assaf steps down in the coming months, as part of a review of the group's entire business.
* M&G Investments has suspended its £164 million Prudential M&G Property Portfolio Fund, a company spokesman told Reuters. It is the second property fund to be frozen by the British fund manager after it temporarily suspended dealing in its flagship U.K. property fund last week.
* U.K.-based PremFina Ltd. has applied for a money lending license from the Central Bank of Ireland and expects to begin operations in its Dublin office by the second quarter of 2020, the Irish Independent wrote. The insurance premium finance firm also plans to expand into Poland and Spain, among other European countries.
* Secure Trust Bank PLC CFO Neeraj Kapur is leaving the group to take on a similar role at British peer Provident Financial PLC. Kapur will assume his new role at Provident Financial on April 1, 2020, replacing Simon Thomas.
* Hamish Paton has resigned as CEO of Amigo Holdings PLC, while Chairman Stephan Wilcke will not seek re-election at the U.K.-based guarantor loans provider's next annual general meeting in 2020.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA
* Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale Deputy Chairman of the Managing Board Hinrich Holm will leave the German bank when his contract expires Jan. 31, 2020. Holm's position will not be filled, and his responsibilities will be divided among the bank's other managing board directors.
* The Frankfurt public prosecutor's office has dropped investigations into two Deutsche Bank AG employees suspected of aiding and abetting tax evasion and of money laundering in a case related to German client interactions with offshore entities established by unit Regula Ltd., which the lender sold in 2018. The lender said the case was closed due to lack of sufficient suspicion. Meanwhile, Deutsche agreed to pay a total of €15 million in penalties for shortcomings in its control environment.
* Deutsche will have to cut relations with several thousand customers, mostly in the investment banking division, because it failed to sufficiently carry out know-your-customer profiling to prevent misappropriation of accounts for money laundering, terrorism financing or other crimes, Süddeutsche Zeitung reported.
* Bayerische Landesbank AöR gave up plans to sell or list direct banking subsidiary Deutsche Kreditbank AG and will instead invest in a growth strategy for the unit to expand its business lines, including the brokerage business, Handesblatt wrote.
* UniCredit Bank AG, or Hypovereinsbank, will be cutting around 1,300 of 12,000 jobs in Germany in the coming decade as part of a cost reduction program of parent company UniCredit SpA, Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote. At UniCredit Bank Austria AG, around 500 jobs will be affected, close to 10% of the workforce, Die Presse noted.
* Portigon AG is making "high provisions" to cover expected losses of up to €600 million this year potentially arising from claims from illicit cum-ex dividend deals undertaken by the bank's wound-down predecessor Westdeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale up to 2012, Handelsblatt reported.
* Hamburg Commercial Bank AG, formerly HSH Nordbank AG, is cutting 240 jobs and will act "cautiously" in new business endeavors as the market environment "is not developing as well as expected," Hamburger Abendblatt cited CEO Stefan Ermisch as saying.
FRANCE AND BENELUX
* Bermuda-based Watford Holdings Ltd. agreed to acquire French property and casualty insurer Axeria IARD from the APRIL Group.
* Coface SA received approval from French regulator ACPR to use its internal model to calculate solvency ratios, which will eventually lead to main shareholder Natixis being able to sell its stake after 10 years of looking for a buyer, Les Echos reported. Using internal models the solvency ratio is 187%, compared to 170% using standard methods, representing a gain of €180 million.
* Seyna became the first new insurance company to be registered with French regulator ACPR since 1983, Les Echos reported. The company will start marketing products aimed at students through shareholders Global Founders Capital and Allianz France SA.
* ING Groep NV will scrap 40% of its service counters and focus more on online banking, De Telegraaf reported.
* Filip Dierckx, the deputy CEO of BNP Paribas Fortis SA, who was due to retire Jan. 1, 2020, is leaving earlier than expected to be in the running for the CEO role at Belfius SA, L'Echo and De Tijd reported.
SPAIN AND PORTUGAL
* The ECB left its capital requirements for Liberbank SA unchanged. The lender is already in compliance with the established common equity Tier 1 ratio of 9.5% and overall capital of 13%, having closed September with ratios of 14.5% and 16.1%, respectively, Expansión reported.
* BNP Paribas SA should increase staffing levels in Portugal to 6,000 by year-end, according to the CEO of the French financial group's local unit, Fabrice Segui, Jornal de Negócios reported. He said Portugal had become the company's "back office in Europe," adding that the local unit could play "an important role in contributing to the group's global strategy."
ITALY AND GREECE
* Banca IFIS SpA, Barclays Bank and Guber Banc acquired a €1.4 billion nonperforming loan portfolio made up of 22,000 positions, 19,500 of which were bought by Ifis for €535 million, Milano Finanza wrote.
* Iccrea Holding SpA and 14 cooperative banks that are part of the group will launch a €519 million securitization with the participation of the EIB, Il Sole 24 Ore wrote.
* Banca Popolare di Bari SCpA asked for a two-week extension to get approval of a recapitalization plan involving the FITD interdeposit protection fund and Mediocredito Centrale, Corriere della Sera reported. A Bari court, meanwhile, sent a 10-day extension of an investigation into Vincenzo De Bustis, CEO of Banca Popolare di Bari, over alleged obstruction to supervisory control and false information on companies and prospectus, la Repubblica wrote.
* Credito Emiliano SpA is willing to consider acquisitions but is not interested in Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena or in Banca Carige, director general Nazzareno Gregori told l'Economia, adding that he was more concerned about "spending well" than "spending less."
* Helo Meigas is stepping down as chief risk officer of Swedbank AB (publ), among other changes in its executive team. Gunilla Domeij Hallros will succeed Meigas in an acting capacity until a permanent replacement is named. The Swedish lender's group management will also be reduced to 14 from 17 as part of an organizational restructuring in a bid to clarify governance.
* The Danish Financial Services Authority has instructed Sparekassen Vendsyssel to tighten its anti-money laundering monitoring, detection and transaction reporting systems. The FSA found a number of shortcomings connected to the savings bank's AML-linked systems following a routine audit conducted during the fourth quarter, Børsen and FinansWatch reported.
* Turkey's central bank revised reserve requirement regulations related to loan growth levels of local banks and introduced consumer price index adjustment to calculations of loan growth. Reuters covered.
* Turkish banking regulator BDDK is expected to ask local lenders to come up with their own roadmaps to cut the nonperforming loans ratio in their balance sheets, as part of efforts to boost lending and growth in the country, according to Bloomberg News. Banks must meet their bad debt targets by the end of 2020.
* Russia's PJSC State Transport Leasing Co. acquired a 76.27% stake in JSCB National Reserve Bank (JSC), RBC reported.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: KB Financial to cancel shares; China eases ownership rules for life insurers
Middle East & Africa: Boubyan Bank to acquire BLME; S&P acts on Senegal; GCB Bank's digital drive
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