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PKO Bank Polski, Bank Pekao deny merger reports; 2 French insurers to merge


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PKO Bank Polski, Bank Pekao deny merger reports; 2 French insurers to merge

* Insurance Australia Group Ltd. entered into separate quota share agreements with Munich Re, Hannover Re and Swiss Re AG for a combined 12.5% of its consolidated business in Australia, New Zealand and Thailand, effective Jan. 1, 2018.

* The EU and Japan have finalized a landmark trade pact that will remove tariff barriers between two of the world's biggest economies at a time when populist backlash against free trade is on the rise.

* S&P Global Ratings said it believes the impact of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision's recently revised capital standards popularly known as "Basel IV" will vary materially between banks and may not be as large as some regions anticipated, noting that risk-sensitive capital ratios are expected to decrease for many banks that use internal models for regulatory purposes.

* The Institute of International Bankers warned U.S. lawmakers that new U.S. tax rules in their current form would force foreign-owned banks operating in the U.S. to cut lending or restructure their operations in the country, the Financial Times reported.


* The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority said it chose not to publish the full report on the activities of Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc's defunct Global Restructuring Group because it did not seek necessary consents from individuals identified in the report, refuting speculation that it did not publish the report out of fear of legal action. Reuters and The Times covered.

* Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc sees "diminishing" chances of reaching a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice over its mortgage bond investigation before the end of 2017, CEO Ross McEwan said in a Bloomberg TV interview. He stressed, however, that the bank is "in a very strong capital position" to handle a settlement.

* Representatives for U.K., London market and Lloyd's of London insurers have united in calls for clarity on how they will continue to trade with Europe after the U.K. leaves the EU. The calls follow the announcement that the U.K. and EU are ready to move to the second phase of talks over Britain's departure, setting out terms of the two sides' future trading arrangements.

* A U.K. judge rebuked HSBC Holdings Plc after the British lender found a bunch of foreign exchange trading records that it earlier claimed did not exist as part of a lawsuit over the bank's alleged front-running of foreign-exchange trades, the Financial Times reported.

* Top-rated fund manager David Cumming, who previously worked at Standard Life, is in advanced talks to become head of global equities at Aviva Investors, insiders told Sky News.

* Man Group Plc is set to launch a quantitative hedge fund in China, which will use computer algorithms to trade across liquid markets and will initially focus on listed futures, the Financial Times wrote.

* Senior officials at HSBC Holdings Plc have told its bankers to avoid doing business with Chinese conglomerate HNA Group Co. Ltd., which is currently facing mounting scrutiny over its rising borrowing costs and heavy debt load, insiders told Bloomberg News.

* Aviva Investors, a leading investor in the London Stock Exchange Group Plc, said it intends to vote against The Children's Investment Fund's proposal to oust LSE Chairman Donald Brydon during the group's Dec. 19 shareholder meeting, The Daily Telegraph reported.

* Allied Irish Banks Plc said the scheme of arrangement pursuant to which AIB Group Plc is introduced as the holding company of AIB Bank and its subsidiaries became effective Dec. 8. Trading in ordinary shares in AIB Group Plc will commence today.


* Deutsche Bank AG's U.S. business could be negatively affected by U.S. President Donald Trump's new tax bill as the bank faces the possibility of having to write off a sizeable volume of booked tax credits that will lose value if the U.S. corporate rate is cut, Handelsblatt reported.

* Stefan Zeidler, head of corporate banking at DZ BANK AG, took over the role of deputy CEO at Volksbank Stuttgart eG, Stuttgarter Nachrichten wrote.

* Sven Baumann und Frank Vogel have been promoted from managing directors to joint heads of investment banking at Citigroup Global Markets Deutschland AG, Börsen-Zeitung noted.

* Alexander von Uslar, CFO of Landesbank Baden-Württemberg, will leave the bank by Dec. 31 to pursue new professional endeavors.


* Dutch lenders are €14 billion short on the amount of cash they should be holding under a new global deal on crisis-era capital rules agreed upon by regulators last week, Het Financieele Dagblad reported, citing statistics from Dutch financial services market regulator DNB.

* Dutch financial technology start-up Ayden is considering an IPO in 2018 and is holding exploratory talks with investment banks, Het Financieele Dagblad reported, citing a report by Bloomberg News.

* Charles-Henri Filippi, Citigroup Inc.'s country manager for France, will join Lazard as managing partner in March 2018, Les Echos wrote.

* Insurers Mutuelle Assurance des Commercants et Industriels de France SAM and Aesio have agreed to merge in 2020 to create a new group with around eight million customers and a turnover of over €8 billion, according to Les Echos and L'Agefi.

* The government of France has adopted new rules allowing for the trading of unlisted securities using blockchain digital ledgers, Reuters reported. This will enable banks and fintech firms to launch blockchain platforms where unlisted securities can trade instantly.


* José Félix Morgado is stepping down as CEO of Caixa Económica Montepio Geral caixa económica bancária SA due to differences with the mutual association that controls the troubled savings bank, although the details of his departure remain unclear, Jornal de Negócios and Dinheiro Vivo reported.

* Plans by Portugal's state-run Caixa Geral de Depósitos SA to sell its operations in Spain, South Africa and Brazil could be hampered by rules governing privatizations, Jornal de Negócios reported. The Finance Ministry is yet to clarify the conditions under which the bank will divest the overseas operations.


* MB Private Banking, the private banking unit of Mediobanca - Banca di Credito Finanziario SpA, aims to raise some €300 million to finance a series of special purpose vehicles that will invest in certain target companies, Milano Finanza wrote.

* Seven parties including Banca IFIS SpA are interested in the €1.8 billion nonperforming loan portfolio put up for sale by Banco BPM SpA, with the deadline for offers expiring Monday, Il Sole 24 Ore reported.

* New banking rules approved by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision will have a smaller impact on Italian banks compared to lenders in other countries, Giovanni Sabatini, the director general of Italian banking association ABI, told la Repubblica.


* Nordea Bank AB (publ) plans to pursue addition staff cuts in Finland, and the number of layoffs could reach 500, Dagens Industri reported.

* DNB ASA must wait until next year before the Oslo District Court delivers its ruling in a fund management case filed against the bank by Norway's Consumer Council. The verdict will be announced no later than Jan. 12, 2018, reported


* PKO Bank Polski SA and Bank Pekao SA denied media reports about a potential merger between the two lenders in 2018. Pekao referred to the media reports as "fake news," adding that it plans to focus on "organic growth and building value for clients." Citing sources close to the lenders, Rzeczpospolita and Parkiet reported earlier that Poland's two biggest banks were discussing a merger that could take place in 2018.

* The Russian central bank, which plans to spend 456.2 billion Russian rubles on the recapitalization of Otkritie Financial Corp. Bank and its units, could provide additional funds to the bank in 2018 to finance the recovery process of National Bank Trust PJSC, which is also part of the Otkritie Group, Vedomosti reported. Reuters also has a report.

* Otkritie Holding JSC is seeking preliminary approval from Russian regulators to purchase Baltic Leasing OJSC, reported.

* Bank Pekao SA and Powszechny Zaklad Ubezpieczen na Zycie SA signed an agreement to merge their pension funds, subject to regulatory approval, Rzeczpospolita reported.

* Polish President Andrzej Duda designated Finance and Economic Development Minister Mateusz Morawiecki as Poland's new prime minister, news agency PAP reported.


Asia-Pacific: China Guangfa Bank fined over lending violations; ICICI unit picks banks for IPO

Middle East & Africa: Angolan bank BFA to launch IPO; Moody's revises DR Congo outlook

Latin America: Honduras to hold partial re-count of votes; BTG Pactual raises $500M


Analysts optimistic as Danish banks brace for Basel IV: New capital rules could punch an €11 billion hole in the reserves of Danish banks, but analysts remain optimistic about their financial prospects. However, consumers may see their payments going up, a lobbyist said.

MPs' criticism adds to uncertainty over timing of UK discount-rate change: Yet while members of parliament have indicated that potential changes to the U.K. personal-injury discount rate may be delayed, industry experts are convinced that the government will raise the rate, as desired by the insurance industry.

Legacy-asset cleanup makes HSH privatization 'more likely,' but problems remain: The transition from a state-backed deposit guarantee scheme to a private one is one of the potential challenges to the privatization of northern German landesbank HSH Nordbank, which must happen by February 2018.

S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.

Atif Hussain, Arno Maierbrugger, Danielle Rossingh, Gerard O'Dwyer, Beata Fojcik, Yael Schrage, Stephanie Salti, Praxilla Trabattoni and Helen Popper contributed to this report.

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