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S&PGlobal Market Intelligence's most read financial stories in the Asia-Pacificregion feature banks' involvement in the Panama Papers scandal, while editors'picks include a story on Rizal Commercial Banking's declining share pricefollowing its involvement in the cyber heist at Bangladesh's central bank.


1. Banksnamed in Panama Papers, but it's just the tip of the offshore iceberg

The huge Panama Papers leak on April 3 contains such aflood of information, embarrassing rich and powerful people around the world,that it is easy to forget that the documents come from only one of what couldbe many law firms helping banks set up webs of companies used to hide moneyoffshore. UBS GroupAG and HSBC HoldingsPlc were among those included in the papers, with each bank havingset up thousands of  shell companies inthe British Virgin Islands and Panama.

2. DataDispatch: Cost-to-income ratios of banks worldwide

A report published by S&P Global MarketIntelligence on banks' efficiency around the world showed that China'sShanghai Pudong Development BankCo. Ltd. was the most efficient bank in the Asia-Pacific, whileJapan's Mitsubishi UFJ FinancialGroup Inc. was the least efficient bank among the 15 largestAsia-Pacific banks, with the highest cost-to-income ratio. The report looked atthe cost-to-income ratios for institutions with at least US$10 billion inassets.

3. Former QBE Insurance exec gets jail time for conspiring toembezzle

James Shea, formerly an executive vice president atQBE Insurance GroupLtd.'s North American unit, was sentenced to 1.5 years in prison bya U.S. district court for conspiring to embezzle US$2.6 million from thecompany. Shea was ordered to pay back US$1.81 million and jointly pay US$2.65million with a co-defendant in restitution to the insurer.

4. Anbang's aborted Starwood gambit raises questions about China-USdeals

After the sudden emergence and equally suddenevaporation of Anbang InsuranceGroup Co.'s roughly $14 billion bid for ,market participants are weighing the promise and complexity of deals betweenU.S. and Chinese buyers. Yet, well-funded as they are, large Chinese buyersseeking to follow Anbang's lead will have to overcome regulations, culturaldifferences and the residual skepticism that Anbang's abrupt exit from theStarwood deal may have left behind.

5. BaselCommittee proposes changes to derivatives treatment in leverage ratio

The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision has issueda consultative document on the Basel III leverage ratio framework, proposingchanges to the treatment of derivatives and outlining how the world's largestbanks may have to meet additional requirements. The minimum ratio is 3%.


1. Nosilver bullet for Japanese regional banks fighting low interest rates

Regional banks in Japan are stepping up efforts toovercome negative interest rates, but there is no silver bullet. Some banks arediversifying their operations to businesses not reliant on interest income,such as asset management, but without much experience, it is questionable howcompetitive they can be in those new areas.

2. DataDispatch Asia-Pacific: Top 4 Chinese banks hit by credit costs in 2015 as baddebt swells

Combined net profit at the top four Chinese banksbarely increased in 2015, as a deepening economic slowdown pushed up bad debtratios by the most in at least seven years and boosted credit costs,underscoring growing challenges for lenders in the country. Aggregate netprofit at Industrial &Commercial Bank of China Ltd., China Construction Bank Corp., andBank of China Ltd.edged up to 856.70 billion yuan in 2015 from 852.70 billion yuan in the prioryear.

3. OCBCto rival DBS in private banking with Barclays deal as industryconsolidates

After winning Barclays Plc's private banking business in twoAsia-Pacific financial hubs, Singapore-based Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. Ltd. is set to trail itsonly bigger domestic rival more closely than ever in the top league of wealthmanagers in a consolidating market.

4. DataDispatch Asia-Pacific: RCBC stock takes beating in aftermath of Bangladesh Bankheist

With a Philippine Senate probe underway intoRizal Commercial BankingCorp.'s involvement in the theft of Bangladeshi central bankreserves, investors have quickly turned their backs on the company. Shares inRCBC were on a downward spiral through March, hitting 29.10 Philippine pesosper share March 22; the lowest level since December 2011.

5. KBFinancial nears brokerage acquisition as CEO envisions South Korean MerrillLynch

After back-to-back setbacks, is finallynearing its first acquisition of a brokerage in years, as the company's CEOenvisions transforming the South Korean banking conglomerate into a localequivalent of Bank of AmericaMerrill Lynch. KB Financial was picked March 31 asthe preferred bidder for a controlling 22.56% stake in