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Mirae Asset Life merger gets nod; ex-China Development Bank exec imprisoned

* Mirae Asset Life Insurance Co. Ltd. received shareholders' approval for its merger with PCA Life Insurance Co. Ltd. to create the fifth-biggest South Korean life insurance company by assets, The Chosun Ilbo reported.

* China's securities association has banned HSBC Holdings Plc's nine mutual funds from buying IPO shares due to misconduct, the Financial Times reported. The move follows a crackdown by the China Securities Regulatory Commission-controlled association in the week of July 31, when 1,012 funds and individual investors were banned from buying IPO shares for up to a year.

* Swiss authorities found India's data security and confidentiality laws adequate for entering into an automatic exchange of information pact, Press Trust of India reported, citing a German-language official notification published by the government of Switzerland. Such a pact would allow the sharing of detailed information about black-money hoarders in Swiss banks.

* Woori Bank has opened a branch in Mumbai, which also serves as its headquarters for the South Asian region, Money Today reported. The South Korean lender plans to set up a subsidiary in India and increase its Indian branches to about 20 from three currently.

GREATER CHINA

* Yao Zhongmin, former head of the supervisory board at China Development Bank Corp., was sentenced to 14 years in prison and fined 3.5 million yuan for receiving bribes, Reuters reported. Yao allegedly accepted bribes amounting to 36.2 million yuan through his brother between 2002 and 2013.

* The People's Bank of China will require payment institutions in the country to handle online payment businesses via a unified clearing platform, starting June 30, 2018, Reuters reported. The platform was jointly founded by 45 shareholders with total investment capital of 2 billion yuan.

* Taiwan's Executive Yuan approved several key appointments to the Financial Supervisory Commission, with Jean Chiu taking over as head of the commission's banking bureau, Wang Li-chuan assuming the post of director-general of the examination bureau, and Wu Quei-mao as the new head of the insurance bureau, the Taipei Times reported. The appointments will take effect in September.

JAPAN AND KOREA

* Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co. Ltd. will let all its 17,000 domestic employees work from home, beginning in October, The Nikkei reported. Currently, the company's telecommuting policy applies to some employees for reasons such as child-rearing and elderly care.

* Ogaki Kyoritsu Bank Ltd. has signed a business cooperation agreement with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, The Nikkei reported.

* Legal & General Group Plc completed its registration with Japan's Financial Services Agency to commence asset management operations in Japan with paid-in capital of ¥130 million, The Nikkei reported.

* KB Kookmin Bank will sell interest rate swaps and currency swaps in China through its Chinese unit, The Chosun Ilbo reported. The South Korean lender recently obtained a derivatives license from the China Banking Regulatory Commission.

ASEAN

* The research arm of Government Savings Bank said it expects the Thai economy to expand by 3.5% in 2017, with growth speeding up in the second half, Manager Daily reported.

* PT Bank Central Asia Tbk saw its assets grow 17.9% to 738.19 billion Indonesian rupiah in the first half, compared with figures for the prior-year period, Bisnis Indonesia reported.

* AFFIN Holdings Bhd. plans to buy an additional stake in AXA Affin General Insurance Bhd. from Felda Marketing Services Sdn. Bhd. for 99.09 million Malaysian ringgit. The company is seeking Bank Negara Malaysia's approval to acquire 8,411,959 shares in AXA Affin General Insurance.

SOUTH ASIA

* India-based Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd. is considering options, including an IPO, to raise 30 billion rupees, Mint reported, citing "people directly aware of the insurer plan." The insurer is a joint venture between ICICI Ventures, Sequoia Capital, Tata Capital Growth Fund, Alpha TC Holdings and Oman Insurance Co.

* A 79% year-over-year increase in provision for bad debts led Syndicate Bank Ltd. to post a net loss of 2.63 billion Indian rupees for the quarter ended June 30. The lender saw a 26% increase in operating profit to 9.80 billion rupees from 7.74 billion rupees for the year-ago period.

* The State Bank of Pakistan is establishing a financial consultative body in accordance with international regulatory and supervisory practices to ensure financial stability in the country, The News International reported, citing Abid Qamar, the central bank's chief spokesman. The body will be named the National Financial Stability Council.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Calls for a royal commission into Australia's banking sector have regained strength in the wake of alleged violations of anti-money laundering and counterterrorism laws by Commonwealth Bank of Australia, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

* For its part, Commonwealth Bank of Australia said a software error was responsible for most of the anti-money laundering law violations it was accused of. A coding error occurred following a software upgrade in late 2012 and became apparent in 2015, the bank said.

Sally Wang, Jonathan Cheah, Jaekwon Lim and Santibhap Ussavasodhi contributed to this report.

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