UK AND IRELAND
* Former U.K. Chancellor Philip Hammond criticized Prime Minister Boris Johnson's plan to leave the EU with or without a deal, saying in a column in The Times that Johnson's demand would never be accepted by the bloc and that a no-deal Brexit would be a "betrayal" to the 2016 referendum. However, Britain will still leave the EU on Oct. 31 despite Hammond's effort, an unnamed source told BBC News. Speculation among U.K. lawmakers is rife about a potential election in autumn, with a Conservative politician accidentally publishing a draft email about Johnson's "GE2019 team," Bloomberg News wrote.
* The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority agreed on an 18-month plan that would give more time to the payments and e-commerce industry to implement the strong customer authentication rules, which are intended to improve payment security and avoid fraud.
* Andrea Orcel, former investment banking head at Switzerland's UBS Group AG and would-have-been CEO of Spain's Banco Santander SA, is interested in succeeding John Flint as CEO of HSBC Holdings PLC, insiders told finews.com. Although there has been no communication yet between the British bank and the Italian banker, Orcel is reportedly willing to forgo part of his bonus from UBS if he were to be chosen as HSBC's new chief.
* Standard Chartered PLC is seeking to shore up its private banking assets by 50% to roughly $100 billion in the next three to five years, Didier von Daeniken, global head for private banking and wealth management, told Reuters. The bank also plans to hire 30 to 40 private bankers annually over the next two to three years, mostly in Hong Kong and Singapore, to underpin its growth ambitions.
* Standard Life Aberdeen PLC unit Standard Life (Mauritius Holdings) 2006 Ltd. sold 67,100,000 shares, or 3.33% of the paid-up issued equity share capital, of India-based HDFC Life Insurance Co. Ltd. for a net gain of about £374 million. The transaction brings SLA's indirect stake in HDFC to 19.69%.
* H2O AM LLP helped German entrepreneur Lars Windhorst settle a €66 million lawsuit from Romanello, a Belize-registered investment vehicle with links to Igor Yusufov, who was energy minister during Vladimir Putin's first term as Russian president, unnamed sources told the Financial Times. Some of H2O's funds are widely exposed to illiquid bonds linked to Windhorst.
* Muddy Waters LLC plans to hand over its report on Burford Capital Ltd.'s accounting practices to the U.K. FCA, a spokeswoman told Evening Standard. The U.S. fund seeks a forensic examination of Burford's business and will urge the regulator to search company emails for any wrongdoing.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA
* German banks have set aside around €270 million in provisions for dividend stripping or cum-cum deals although the financial risks associated with the illicit schemes are significantly higher, Handelsblatt reported. According to government information obtained by the newspaper, 18 German banks, including Sparkassen, have set aside provisions and some have already repaid illicitly received taxes.
* German online lender N26 GmbH is looking to launch an IPO in three to five years, CEO Valentin Stalf told the FT. He also said the bank has now resolved some of the shortfalls that banking regulator BaFin identified recently and that the rest of the problems will be dealt with in the coming weeks. N26, meanwhile, named Thomas Grosse chief banking officer, effective in October.
* Germany-based Merkur Bank KGaA has completed the takeover of Bank Schilling & Co. AG in Hammelburg, Börsen-Zeitung reported. With the addition of Bank Schilling, Merkur Bank becomes one of Germany's largest owner-managed banks with a balance sheet of more than €2 billion. In order to finance the takeover, the bank plans to issue some 1.4 million new shares for the subscription price of €9.50 each this autumn.
* Swiss Re AG will enter the Ivory Coast market, with plans to launch an underwriting office, expected to be operational by Oct. 1, Reinsurance News reported. The firm has received approval from the Inter-African Conference of Insurance Markets.
* Switzerland's Bank Cler AG has appointed Mariateresa Vacalli and Philipp Lejeune, former chief digital officer and chief credit officer, respectively, at parent group Basler Kantonalbank, as new CEO and CFO, effective Sept. 1. The move follows the resignation of CEO Sandra Lienhart and CFO René Saluz, who will remain at the bank until September.
FRANCE AND BENELUX
* The impact of future regulation and commercial opportunities are among the factors currently driving French banks to increasingly focus on climate change, Les Echos reported.
SPAIN AND PORTUGAL
* Spanish stock market regulator CNMV has officially limited to €300,000 the fine imposed on Jaime Botín, the brother of former Banco Santander President Emilio Botín, for an infraction involving not reporting that he had a 7.85% stake in Bankinter SA, news agency EFE reported. The penalty was initially set at €500,000.
* Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA has moved the headquarters of its BBVA Re SE unit to Spain from Ireland, Europa Press wrote. The firm had been registered in Ireland since the year 2000.
* Millennium BCP President Miguel Maya commented on the 30% devaluation the bank's shares suffered in the last month, telling Economia Online that it reflects external market uncertainties and global tensions.
ITALY AND GREECE
* Italy's Senate postponed until next week further government debate on an ongoing political crisis, frustrating the efforts of Matteo Salvini, deputy premier and head of the League party, to push for snap elections, Reuters said.
* Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA sold €340 million in soured loans, disposing of a total of €137 million in both secured and unsecured nonperforming loans and €202 million in three unlikely to pay loan portfolios, MF said.
* BPER Banca SpA adviser McKinsey has presented the bank with strategic options for increasing the value of its 57.06% stake in asset manager Arca SGR, with the most likely option seen is a tie-up with a fellow Italian asset manager, MF said. The newspaper added that Anima Holding SpA is seen as the favored deal candidate.
* Danske Bank A/S will not charge its clients more to alleviate costs in a low-interest-rate environment, contrary to what other European banks are doing. CFO Christian Baltzer told Bloomberg News that doing such would lead to societal problems, including the risk of customers withdrawing more cash.
* Mats Persson, economic policy spokesman for Sweden's Liberals, ruled out calls from economists to boost fiscal spending and said the country needs to hold the necessary buffers in case an economic slump affects finances, Bloomberg reported.
* The gross margins earned by banks on mortgage loans in Sweden declined further in the second quarter, to 1.44% from 1.46% in the January-March period, Sydsvenskan reported.
* Banks in Norway are implementing stricter measures to improve the credit screening of borrowers seeking loans and credit card products, e24.no wrote.
* PKO Bank Polski SA reported a second-quarter net profit attributable to the parent company of 1.22 billion Polish zlotys, up from 933 million zlotys a year ago. First-half net profit rose year over year to 2.08 billion zlotys from 1.69 billion zlotys.
* Meanwhile, PAP reported, citing PKO Bank Polski CEO Zbigniew Jagiełło, that the lender does not feel under pressure with regard to the upcoming EU Court of Justice ruling on foreign currency-indexed mortgage loans in Poland, and most of its clients are happy with their forex mortgages. The executive also noted that the lender's forex mortgage portfolio is small.
* TBC Bank Group PLC introduced a "mirror board" system for unit JSC TBC Bank. The group's board also accepted the resignation of Jyrki Koskelo as chairman and supervisory board member, effective immediately.
* Otkritie Financial Corp. Bank expects its 2019 net profit to significantly exceed its 28 billion Russian ruble target if the economic situation does not deteriorate by year-end, RBC reported.
* A Russian court sentenced former PAO AK BARS Bank trader to 2.5 years of imprisonment, suspended for four years, for market manipulation transactions, carried out between 2011 and 2016, Kommersant reported. The former trader, which reportedly caused over 75 million Russian rubles worth of damages to the bank, was also banned from engaging in securities market transactions for three years.
* Canada-based Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. filed two requests with Ukraine's Antimonopoly Committee for permission to acquire a stake of at least 25% in JSC Insurance Co. Universal, Delo.ua reported.
* A Ukrainian appellate court allowed companies affiliated with Ukrainian investor Ihor Kolomoisky to proceed with the sale of an almost 100% stake in State Development Corp. VEB.RF local unit PSC Prominvestbank, Delo.ua said.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: NAB Q3 earnings up 1% YOY; HK IPOs decline; Singapore cuts economic forecast
Middle East & Africa: Absa H1 results up; Plus500 shrugs off profit plunge; Swiss Re in Ivory Coast
Latin America: BBVA Francés, Galicia's profits surge; Argentine central bank ups rates to 74%
North America: CIT, Mutual of Omaha Bank in $1B deal; RBC analyst charged with insider trading
Global Insurance: Genworth selling MI Canada stake; Centene exchange expansion; reinsurance M&A
NOW FEATURED ON S&P GLOBAL MARKET INTELLIGENCE
Global reinsurance M&A to continue amid tough conditions, S&P says: The rating agency anticipates more deals like Axa/XL and Markel/Nephila, but does not expect consolidation among the top 10 reinsurers.
Wealth management banks' H1 inflow rebound slowed by worries over trade, economy: Despite a rebound in net new money generation at the world's top wealth management banks in the first half of 2019, growth rates were still well below previous years due to continued worries over trade and the global economy, rating agency DBRS said.
With fresh elections ahead, Italian fiscal challenges will persist, says DBRS: Elections are likely in late October or early November, in the middle of Italy's presentation of its draft budget plan 2020 to the European Commission.
Sheryl Obejera, Ed Meza, Danielle Rossingh, Gerard O'Dwyer, Beata Fojcik, Heather O'Brian, Stephanie Salti, Sophie Davies and Mariana Aldano.
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