* Dubai-based peer-to-peer lending platform Beehive Group DMCC launched a debt-based crowdfunding platform in Bahrain, Arabian Business wrote.
* Japan-based Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. named John Winter CEO of U.K.-based unit MUFG Securities EMEA Plc and head of MUFG Bank Ltd.'s global corporate and investment banking business in EMEA, effective April 1.
GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL
* SHUAA Capital PSC CEO Fawad Tariq Khan said the Dubai-based financial services firm is in talks with Abu Dhabi Financial Group over a potential merger. Both companies have formed a working group comprising senior executives to review a merger's commercial potential, as well as legal and structural aspects of a deal.
* Meanwhile, Al Hilal Bank PJSC has cut roughly 160 jobs ahead of its expected three-way merger with Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and Union National Bank, insiders told Reuters. More layoffs are reportedly expected to follow in June.
* Representatives of accounting firm Deloitte LLP handling the liquidation of Abraaj Group are asking the Dubai-based private equity firm's backers for additional legal protection and more compensation, as well as guarantees that they will not be sued over their role in the sale of some of Abraaj's Middle East and Africa funds, insiders told The Wall Street Journal.
* National Bank of Fujairah PJSC CEO Vince Cook said the lender expects to improve assets and profitability growth in 2019, Gulf News reported.
* Ayman Mohammed Khamis has resigned as general manager of Sharjah Insurance Co.
* Qatar National Bank QPSC completed the issuance of a $1 billion bond with a maturity of five years and a fixed coupon rate of 3.5% per annum.
* Meanwhile, Masraf Al Rayan QPSC has hired banks including Barclays and Standard Chartered to arrange a potential sale of U.S. dollar-denominated sukuk, insiders told Reuters. The deal would be the Qatari lender's first public debt sale.
* Jacques Olivier Prost has resigned as a nonexecutive director of Banque Saudi Fransi's board, effective March 15.
* Gulf Investment Services Holding Co. SAOG's board approved the company's acquisition of a 30% stake in unit Gulf Baader Capital Markets SAOC from Germany-based Baader Bank AG and an unnamed shareholder. Following completion, Gulf Investment Services Holding's stake in Gulf Baader Capital Markets will be 99.99%.
* Shareholders of Oman-based A'Sharqiya Investment Holding Co. SAOG approved the election of Fadwa Salim Said al-Fannah al-Araimi as an independent director of the company's board.
* Fitch Ratings downgraded the long-term foreign-currency issuer default ratings of National Bank of Oman SAOG, Sohar International Bank SAOG and Bank Dhofar SAOG to BB from BB+, the long- and short-term foreign-currency issuer default ratings of Bank Muscat SAOG to BB+/B from BBB-/F3, the long-term foreign- and local-currency issuer default ratings of Ahli Bank SAOG to BB from BB+ and the viability rating of HSBC Bank Oman SAOG to "bb+" from "bbb-", among other ratings.
REST OF MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
* The Central Bank of Tunisia held kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 7.75%, Reuters reported.
* Banque Tunisienne de Solidarité and the Tunisian Post have signed a strategic partnership agreement that aims to help the bank integrate financial technology into its activities and work programs, Financial Afrik wrote. More than 200,000 clients financed by the bank have accounts and manage transactions with the Tunisian Post.
* Jake Berman has retired as chairman of Israel Discount Bank Ltd. unit Israel Discount Bank of New York. The bank's board named Ilan Kaufthal to replace Berman.
* Capital Intelligence Ratings affirmed Capital Bank of Jordan's long- and short-term foreign-currency ratings at BB-/B.
* Moody's said the outlook on Lebanon's banking sector is stable, citing expectations of slightly higher economic growth and deposit inflows.
* Fitch Ratings upgraded Egypt's long-term foreign currency issuer default rating to B+ from B, with a stable outlook, citing progress in the country's economic and fiscal situations.
* Egypt-based Aman for Microfinance is looking to double its capital by 50 million Egyptian pounds to 100 million pounds, Daily News Egypt reported.
* Analysts expect the Egyptian central bank's monetary policy committee to cut interest rates at its next meeting on March 28, according to a poll by Daily News Egypt.
EAST AND WEST AFRICA
* S&P Global Ratings affirmed Kenya's B+/B long- and short-term foreign- and local-currency sovereign credit ratings, with a stable outlook on the long-term rating.
* The Ivorian government approved the transfer of 19.16% of Banque Nationale d'Investissement's capital to Caisse Nationale de Prévoyance Sociale for 20 billion CFA francs, Agence Ecofin reported.
CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA
* Angola's sovereign wealth fund has recovered $3.35 billion in assets that were managed by Switzerland-based Quantum Global Wealth Management AG following corruption and conflict of interest allegations at the country's wealth fund. The Fundo Soberano de Angola told Bloomberg News that the recovered assets include approximately $2.35 billion of financial assets in banks in the U.K. and Mauritius and $1 billion in real estate stocks.
* Delmise Florentino, head of the Banco Nacional de Angola's money laundering division, said the country's banking sector has insufficiencies in preventing money laundering as some institutions lack proper mechanisms to access and monitor client risk, according to Macauhub.
* Angola's central bank announced plans to reduce charges imposed on foreign transactions within 60 days, Angola Press reported.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: China Pacific Insurance FY'18 profit up; Karnataka Bank reports fraud
Deza Mones, Henni Abdelghani, Sophie Davies and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.
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