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Lloyd's syndicates fined; Goldman buying Aston Lark; Japanese insurers' earnings

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Lloyd's syndicates fined; Goldman buying Aston Lark; Japanese insurers' earnings

Thirteen Lloyd's of London syndicates have agreed to pay $22 million to settle a long-running dispute in the U.S. over alleged price manipulation, according to a document seen by The Sunday Times. About 10 syndicates have yet to settle and remain exposed to legal action.

Tokio Marine Holdings Inc. announced a 3.4% drop in net income attributable to owners of the parent for the fiscal year ended March 31 to ¥274.58 billion from ¥284.18 billion a year ago. MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings Inc.'s net income attributable to owners of the parent for the fiscal year ended March 31 jumped 25.1% to ¥192.71 billion from ¥154.06 billion in the prior year. Sompo Holdings Inc. logged net income attributable to shareholders of the parent of ¥146.63 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31, up 4.9% from ¥139.82 billion a year ago.

Middle-market investor Bowmark Capital LLP will exit U.K.-based independent chartered insurance broker Aston Lark Ltd., which will be sold to the merchant banking division of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Japan's Nippon Life Insurance Co. is in talks to buy most of Reliance Capital Ltd.'s approximately 43% stake in Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management Ltd., the companies' asset management joint venture in India, The Nikkei reported. Nippon Life could spend roughly ¥70 billion to buy the stake, which would bring the Japanese insurer's stake in Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management to over 70%.

National Bank of Greece SA will soon begin discussions with potential investors for the sale of its wholly owned insurance unit, Ethniki Hellenic General Insurance SA, Reuters reported. The bank reportedly expects to complete the sale of the unit by 2020 as part of its strategy to shift focus on core banking operations.

Brexit-fueled consolidation of wholesale Lloyd's of London brokers would harm competition and specialization, according to Nick Davenport, CEO of wholesale broker EIS Partners.

The Joint War Committee, which represents the interests of marine hull war underwriters at both Lloyd's of London and the London company market outside Lloyd's, added Oman, the Persian Gulf and adjacent waters and the United Arab Emirates to the list of areas of "perceived enhanced risk" of war, piracy, terrorism and related perils. The decision was made following attacks on ships at the port of the emirate of Fujairah, part of the UAE, on May 12.

Korean Reinsurance Co. established a subsidiary in Switzerland, The Korea Economic Daily reported. The subsidiary, Korean Re Switzerland AG, received a license from the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority to begin reinsurance operations in Europe, effective June 1.

Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. of China Ltd.'s financial technology unit, OneConnect, is looking to raise US$1 billion through an IPO in Hong Kong, Reuters reported. The insurance company has selected Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley for IPO preparation.

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Progressive passes $1B mark in advertisement spending for 1st time: Progressive Corp. spent approximately $1.29 billion on advertisements in 2018, up from $910 million in 2017, according to statutory data compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

AstraZeneca asthma therapy better than GSK's; J&J to pay $80M in implant case: AstraZeneca's Symbicort Turbuhaler was better than GlaxoSmithKline's Ventolin in reducing mild asthma attacks; and Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $80 million to a woman who alleged that J&J's pelvic mesh implant caused her injuries.

In other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: China probes ex-financial regulator; Nippon Life eyes stake in asset manager

Europe: Novo Banco posts Q1 loss; Carige given extra time to find new buyer

Middle East & Africa: UAE, Oman remain on EU tax haven blacklist; Saudi central bank fines 16 firms

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng was down 0.57% to 27,787.61. The Nikkei 225 rose 0.24% to 21,301.73.

In Europe as of midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.74% to 7,293.91, and the Euronext 100 was down 1.13% to 1,047.06.

Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.

On the macro front

Chicago Fed National Activity Index is due out today.

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