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China eases foreign investment rules; Malaysia to review insurer ownership rules

GREATER CHINA

* The People's Bank of China and China's State Administration of Foreign Exchange announced a new round of foreign exchange management reforms on the Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor scheme, or QFII, and the Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor program, or RQFII, Xinhua News Agency and Reuters separately reported. Foreign investors in China will no longer be required to comply with a 20% monthly repatriation limit under the programs. Regulators also removed the lockup periods for investment principal under the QFII and RQFII schemes, effective immediately.

* The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission tightened actuarial reporting rules for life insurance companies to enhance supervision and risk control in the country's financial sector, Reuters reported. The regulator required insurers to tighten the management of their liabilities, and imposed stricter standards for hiring chief actuaries, among others, the report said.

* Ren Deqi was appointed as deputy secretary of the Party Committee of the Bank of Communications Co. Ltd., China's Caixin reported. Ren will take the role as the bank's vice chairman and president pending supervisory approval.

* China Life Insurance (Group) Co. entered into a strategic cooperation agreement with Tencent Holdings Ltd. to promote cooperation in finance, insurance and information technology, Shanghai Securities News reported.

JAPAN AND KOREA

* Anicom Insurance Inc. has started selling its pet insurance through the messenger app of Japan-based social media company LINE Corp., Tokyo's The Nikkei reported.

* South Korea-based PearlAbyss Corp. will establish a new investment unit named PearlAbyss Capital with a capital of 20 billion won, The Chosun Ilbo reported.

* South Korea's Daegu Bank Ltd. will raise 100 billion won from contingent convertible bonds, Yonhap News Agency reported.

ASEAN

* The Philippine central bank plans to further relax foreign currency trading rules to simplify the movement of foreign investments in and out of the country, The Philippine Star reported.

* Thailand's Kasikornbank PCL and Hong Kong's Bank of East Asia Ltd. signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance cooperation in innovation of financial products and services for trading activities between Thailand and Hong Kong, Thailand's Manager Daily reported.

* Malaysia may review a rule that caps foreign insurers' ownership in local units to 70%, Reuters reported, citing three people familiar with the matter. Sources said foreign companies in Malaysia are finding it hard to find domestic buyers for their stakes, which would allow them to comply with the rule. The study could result in the rule being suspended.

* Bank Indonesia Governor Perry Warjiyo clarified that the central bank has no plans to impose a tax on foreign funds following a misunderstanding on his previous statement, The Jakarta Post reported. Warjiyo said a tax is an instrument that could be applied to control huge inflows and outflows of foreign funds, but noted that they have no plans to implement it anytime soon.

SOUTH ASIA

* India's federal police approached the International Criminal Police Organization to help it locate and arrest Nirav Modi, who is accused by Punjab National Bank of perpetrating a US$2 billion loan fraud involving the bank, Reuters reported, citing a federal police source. Indian police asked Interpol to issue a "red notice" arrest order for Modi, who they believe had fled to the United Kingdom to seek political asylum.

* India's Federal Bank Ltd. agreed to acquire a 19.89% equity stake in Equirus Capital Pvt. Ltd., after receiving approval from the Reserve Bank of India.

* Allahabad Bank said the Hong Kong Monetary Authority tightened supervisory arrangements on its Hong Kong branch, requiring the branch to maintain high quality liquid asset in Hong Kong equivalent to 100% of unpledged deposits, among other things.

* Bombay Stock Exchange and U.S.-based insurance exchange Ebix Inc. plan to launch an insurance distribution exchange platform by the end of 2018, subject to regulatory approval, Press Trust of India reported, citing a BSE official. The platform will enable distribution outlets, stock brokers, wealth management advisers and financial institutions to sell life and nonlife insurance products.

* India-based Paytm, a digital wallet firm, will make an entry into the physical point-of-sales terminal business and will roll out PoS machines at merchant outlets across the country, The Economic Times in India reported citing two people with knowledge of the matter.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Westpac New Zealand Ltd. appointed Ian Hankins CFO, Scoop reported, citing the bank. The appointment is subject to New Zealand central bank approval.

* Australia's financial sector royal commission, a yearlong inquiry into misconducts in the sector, is set to focus on farming finance and natural disaster insurance in its fourth round of hearings set for June 25 to June 29, and for July 2 to July 6, according to information provided on the royal commission's website. Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank Ltd., Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. and Suncorp Group Ltd. are among the companies that will face the commission in the upcoming hearings.

* Westpac Banking Corp., National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank of Australia rejected accusations that they breached the law in their dealings with various small business customers, but admitted in May that their behavior toward these owners may have been unfair and there were certain breaches of the industry code of conduct, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Middle East & Africa: UAE's Waha Capital scraps private equity fund plans; Ghana's GN Bank eyes London

Europe: French banks told to hold more capital; HSBC maps out new $17B strategy

Latin America: Arrest warrant for JPMorgan Mexico chief; Banco Macro investors file claims

North America: Wells Fargo bans cryptocurrency buys; Seacoast Banking buying First Green

North America Insurance: ISS supports AmTrust deal; Allianz hunting for M&A; Axa sells healthcare broker

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

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