* China increased how much foreign institutional investors can invest in Chinese securities under its Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor program to US$300 billion from US$150 billion, effective immediately, Caixin reported, citing a statement from the State Administration of Foreign Exchange.
* China Securities Regulatory Commission Vice Chairman Fang Xinghai is of the view that removing the 44% limit on how much a company can gain on their first day of trading would better reflect the price of their shares, Bloomberg News reported. The trading cap was put in place in 2015 to avoid speculation.
* Chen Zhiying, vice mayor of Guangzhou, China, said the city is preparing to launch an international commercial bank in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area, the China Securities Journal reported.
JAPAN AND KOREA
* Japan's Financial Services Agency will review rules on a tax-free individual savings account, known as NISA, to see if it could allow savers who go abroad to continuously take advantage of the program for up to five years, The Nikkei reported. The review will take place in April.
* Eighteen Japanese financial companies have formed a partnership to set up an information-sharing platform using artificial intelligence to speed up the loan approval process for small and medium-sized businesses, The Nikkei reported.
* South Korea's Taurus Investment & Securities Co. Ltd. named Shin Jong-ho, a former head of investment banking at Meritz Securities Co. Ltd., as CEO, The Korea Times reported, citing the brokerage.
* Samsung Securities Co. Ltd. said it set up its first service desk for U.S. dollar-denominated bonds and lowered the minimum transaction amount for clients, in response to growing demand for the bonds, the Maeil Business Newspaper reported.
* South Korea-based Woori Bank is looking for potential acquisitions in the asset management, real estate management and mutual savings bank sector, among others, to compete with other groups, The Korea Times reported, citing group Chairman Sohn Tae-seung. The bank recently relaunched itself as a holding company.
* Land Bank of the Philippines' net income in 2018 increased 10% to 15.5 billion pesos from 14.1 billion pesos in the year-ago period, BusinessWorld reported.
* TISCO Financial Group PCL posted a net profit of 7.01 billion baht in 2018, up 15.2% year over year, citing an increase in net interest income and gains from the sale of its credit card business, Manager Daily reported. The bank's nonperforming loans totaled 6.876 billion baht, accounting for 2.86% of its total loans.
* The Bank of Thailand is collaborating with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Office of Insurance Commission to protect the country's financial stability against risks from lending in the real estate sector and search-for-yield behavior, Manager Daily reported, citing central bank Governor Veerathai Santiprabhob.
* Malaysia's Securities Commission will begin regulating initial coin offerings and digital currencies beginning Jan. 15, following the approval of the digital currency and digital token law, The Star reported, citing Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.
* India's finance ministry is calling on state-owned banks to lower government holding to 52% in order to help them meet the required 25% public ownership rule of the Securities and Exchange Board of India, the Press Trust of India reported, citing Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar.
* The Reserve Bank of India fined Bajaj Finance Ltd. 10 million rupees over violations of the Fair Practices Code for nonbanking financial companies.
* Indiabulls Consumer Finance plans to raise 30 billion rupees through the issuance of secured or unsecured redeemable nonconvertible debentures, subject to necessary approvals, The Hindu Business Line reported.
* Bangladesh Bank has so far sold US$1.22 billion to local banks in the current fiscal year to help prop up the local currency against the U.S. dollar, The Daily Star reported.
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
* Insurance Australia Group Ltd. may sell a part of its 26% stake in India-based SBI General Insurance Co. Ltd., Mint reported, citing people directly aware of the development. The sale may be done in multiple tranches.
* Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. purchased a strategic minority stake in Lendi, an online mortgage broker, for about A$40 million, The Australian Financial Review reported. The bank is now the second largest shareholder of the company after Macquarie Group Ltd.
* The Reserve Bank of New Zealand appointed Simone Robbers and Christian Hawkesby as assistant governors. The appointments complete the central bank's new senior leadership team structure announced in 2018.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Middle East & Africa: Saudi's Al Rajhi in merger talks for Malaysian unit; QIA to boost US investments
Europe: Euronext launches Oslo Børs offer; BNP closing €2.5B arm; Danske probe in France
Latin America: B3 wants local listing for XP; Colombia OKs payment to Ruta del Sol creditors
North America: Citi gives more access to ValueAct; PG&E in financing talks with i-banks
Global Insurance: Guy Carp rate index up 1.1%; MS Amlin raises P&I capacity; Pool Re cat bond
Janna Estares, Sally Wang, Sarun Saelee, Cathy Hwang, Emi White and Aditya Suharmoko contributed to this report.
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