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China opens dual-class stocks to onshore buyers; Australian superfunds debut JV

GREATER CHINA

* Investors in China will be allowed to buy dual-class shares in Hong Kong for the first time under the trading links between the city and the stock exchanges in Shanghai and Shenzhen, Bloomberg News reported, citing the Chinese bourses. The new rule will take effect Oct. 28.

* China Life Insurance Co. Ltd. and persons acting in concert with the company acquired an additional 5% stake in information technology company Wonders Information Co. Ltd. between Aug. 7 and Oct. 18, according to a stock exchange filing. The insurer now holds a 15% stake in Wonders Information.

* The Jilin office of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission imposed a combined penalty of 51.5 million yuan on Bank of China Ltd.'s Jilin city branch and Jilin provincial branch in relation to 57.9 billion yuan in interbank transactions that violated new regulations, Caixin reported.

* Taiwan's Financial Supervisory Commission said three online banks are expected to start operations in the second quarter of 2020, the Liberty Times reported. Taiwan currently has 36 commercial banks. The regulator added that it will work closely with the central bank to control liquidity and credit risks.

* Wellington Koo, chairman of Taiwan's Financial Supervisory Commission, said the regulator would lower the discount rates for savings-type insurance policies, effectively requiring insurers to hold higher reserves against liabilities, the Taipei Times reported. The regulator noted that while the move could affect sales negatively, it would strengthen insurer's financial capital position to pay any compensation. The new rule is expected to be announced in November, and is set to take effect January 2020.

JAPAN AND KOREA

* Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said in a news conference in Washington that the central bank would reduce short- to medium- term interest rates if it needs to further ease monetary policy, Reuters reported. The governor's comment signals that the central bank could deepen negative interest rates to fight overseas risks, according to the report. Kuroda added that cutting short- and medium-term rates would have a positive impact on Japan's economy, but noted that excessive cuts on super-long yields could hurt consumer sentiment.

* KDB Life Insurance Co. Ltd. said it plans to issue subordinated bonds worth 120 billion won at an annual interest rate of 3.7%, the Maeil Business Newspaper reported.

* South Korea's Financial Supervisory Service will hold its final meeting with the dispute settlement committee to rule on the compensation for victims of the so-called "knock-in-knock-out derivatives" scandal in 2008, The Chosun Ilbo reported. The regulator is expected to require a 20% to 30% compensation for affected clients of the scheme.

ASEAN

* Praphan Anupongongarch, CEO and president of Thanachart Bank PCL, said the bank's net profit for the third quarter hit a record high of 4.05 billion baht, an increase of 12.86% from the previous quarter. For the nine months ended Sept. 30, the bank's net profit rose 1.4% year over year to 11.30 billion baht.

* Thailand's Bank of Bank of Ayudhya PCL and its subsidiaries posted a net profit of 6.56 billion baht for the third quarter, up 5.6% year over year, according to a release. For the nine months ended Sept. 30, the bank's net profit increased 40.7% from a year earlier to 26.31 billion baht, mainly driven by an increase in interest and noninterest income.

* Bangkok Bank PCL's net profit for the third quarter increased 4.5% year over year to 9.44 billion baht amid higher net fee and service income. The bank said in a release that nonperforming loan ratio stood at 3.6% as of Sept. 30.

* Indonesian lender PT Bank PT Bank BTPN Tbk plans to conduct a rights issue worth 1 trillion rupiah to help expand its loan business, Kompas reported, citing finance director Hanna Tantani.

SOUTH ASIA

* The Reserve Bank of India shot down a proposal by banks to relieve them of 60 billion rupees in provisions against loans to troubled lender Dewan Housing Finance Corp. Ltd., The Economic Times reported, citing two sources familiar with the matter. The banks had reportedly sought to reverse additional provisions on the loans after DHFL converts part of its debt into equity. The central bank, however, noted that the equity, which will be held by banks via a trust, will still be considered as loans on banks' balance sheets.

* Indiabulls Housing Finance Ltd. plans to use bank loans and commercial papers more as sources of funding as investor demand for bonds issued by nonbanking financial companies declines, Bloomberg News reported, citing Gagan Banga, managing director of the company. Previously, bond issuances comprised around 50% to 60% of the lender's financing needs.

* State Bank of India will hold an online auction for 11 bad loan accounts on Nov. 7 to recover 4.66 billion rupees in debt, the Press Trust of India reported.

* India's HDFC Bank Ltd. reported net profit for the quarter ended Sept. 30 of 66.38 billion rupees, up from the net profit of 53.22 billion rupees in the prior-year period. EPS rose to 12.0 rupees from 9.8 rupees. Interest earned for the quarter increased to 300.17 billion rupees from 257.03 billion rupees.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Australian superannuation funds Equipsuper Superannuation Fund and Catholic Super plan to launch a A$26 billion joint venture as they merge their assets, The Australian reported. The funds are also in talks with others to expand assets under management of the joint venture. Scott Cameron will become the head of the joint venture as well as the CEO of both Equipsuper and Catholic Super.

* The Reserve Bank of Australia is considering imposing an operational resilience standard in retail payment providers after an annual report from its Payments System Board showed increased operational outages in 2018, with mobile and online banking services the most affected. The central bank also said it plans to conduct a review of card payments regulation, as well as buy-now-pay-later services, which restrict merchants from passing on surcharge for payment transactions to customers.

Janna Estares, Sally Wang, Sarun Saelee, Cathy Hwang, Emi White and Aditya Suharmoko contributed to this report.
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