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Brexit deal 'within reach'; Natixis eyes Ingenico; Tryg Q3 profit dips YOY

* European shares tumbled yesterday as early declines in Wall Street trading, led by weakness in the technology sector, exacerbated an already weak performance in European stock markets. The pan-European STOXX Europe 600 index dropped 1.61%, while the FTSE 100 shed 1.27%, France's CAC 40 fell 2.11% and the DAX closed 2.21% lower, with new entrant Wirecard AG plunging more than 14%. The indices are seen opening sharply lower today, according to CNBC.

* The European Union's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, signaled that a divorce deal with the U.K. is "within reach" for next Wednesday, as the two sides have already agreed on about 80% to 85% of a withdrawal deal. However, Barnier noted that some difficult issues remain, such as the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

* Frans Timmermans, who serves as the first vice president of the European Commission, disclosed his candidacy to replace Jean-Claude Juncker as president of the EC, the Financial Times reported.

UK AND IRELAND

* European powers, and especially France, are seeking to gain at Britain's expense by the uncertainty created by Brexit over future banking regulations, including those on so-called back-to-back trading, according to John Glen, City minister and economic secretary to the U.K. Treasury.

* Glen also said the U.K. expects 5,000 financial services jobs to have moved to continental Europe by the time the country leaves the EU next March, but noted that there was no sign of significant moves by major financial services companies to quit London.

* Meanwhile, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority published two consultation papers outlining its plans to ensure "chaos-free continuity" of financial services in the event of Britain leaving the EU without a deal and with no transition period.

* Standard Life Aberdeen PLC is set to appoint former HSBC Holdings PLC Chairman Douglas Flint as its new chairman in the coming weeks, insiders told the FT. Flint would replace Gerry Grimstone, who is now expected to vacate the post earlier than his planned departure by 2019-end.

* British tax investigators, who also have prosecution powers for money laundering, have arrested 19 people, including workers at financial institutions, for being involved with helping gangs hide the origin of their funds, said Simon York, a director in the fraud investigation service of the HM Revenue and Customs.

* A potential U.S.-issued fine as high as $1.5 billion against Standard Chartered PLC for its Iran dealings would give the bank an opportunity to move on from legacy problems that have hindered growth and make it more attractive to buyers, according to analysts.

* U.K.-based Beazley PLC decided to stop underwriting new construction and engineering business globally, The Insurance Insider reported.

* Ireland issued a €3 billion green bond, becoming the latest sovereign to enter the environmental finance market, the FT wrote. The 12-year bond has a fixed coupon of 1.35%.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* The Swiss Supreme Court cleared former Julius Bär Gruppe AG banker Rudolf Elmer of breaching the country's banking secrecy laws, according to Bloomberg News. Elmer had been accused of leaking documents from a Cayman Islands subsidiary, however the court ruled that the unit should not be considered a Swiss bank. The court also decided that banking secrecy rules cannot be extended all over the globe, Reuters noted.

* Switzerland-based GAM Holding AG has held informal discussions with potential suitors for all or parts of the business, insiders told Bloomberg. The talks are at an early stage and may not ultimately lead to a sale.

* The Association of German Banks has reached an agreement to allow HSH Nordbank AG to remain in the state-backed Deposit Protection Fund for three more years, paving the way for the completion of its sale to private equity groups, Handelsblatt reported.

* Deutsche Bank AG promoted Tiina Lee, a veteran of its sales and trading division, to lead its business in the U.K. and Ireland, Financial News reported. She replaces investment banking boss Garth Ritchie, who will retain responsibility for the bank's U.K. management board.

* MainFirst Bank is to take over the stockbroking activities in London and Paris of Raymond James, in a new sign of the consolidation taking place in the broking industry, Les Echos reported.

FRANCE AND BENELUX

* Natixis confirmed reports that it is interested in exploring a potential combination of the activities of its Natixis Payment Solutions business with French payments company Ingenico Group SA and has held preliminary talks on the matter.

* The French banking regulator, Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution, notes that online banks and neo-banks are gaining clients but most are not making profits, Les Echos reported. La Tribune also covered, saying there are now 4.4 million clients representing 6.5% of bank accounts, with BNP Paribas SA's Compte Nickel and Crédit Mutuel Arkéa SACC's Fortuneo the only ones declaring profits.

* Dutch insurer ASR Nederland NV said it aims to maintain an operational return on equity of above 12% as part of a new strategy for the 2019-2021 period. The company added that it will pursue "profitable growth in selective areas," including through acquisitions. ASR is not ruling out taking over rival Vivat NV, according to Het Financieele Dagblad.

* NN Group NV has decided to place investment restrictions on companies involved in oil sands, which will apply to all funds managed on behalf of clients, as well as the company's own assets.

SPAIN AND PORTUGAL

* Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA completed the sale of an 80% stake in its Spanish real estate business Divarian Propiedad SA to an entity managed by Cerberus Capital Management LP.

* CaixaBank SA plans to take a prudent approach in granting loans under its 2019-2021 strategic plan, which will be published in November, to help protect itself against future shocks, Expansión reported, citing CEO Gonzalo Gortázar.

* Novo Banco SA signed an agreement with entities indirectly owned by funds managed by U.S. investment firm Anchorage Capital Group LLC for the sale of a real estate portfolio with a book value of €716.7 million.

ITALY AND GREECE

* Bank of Greece SA Governor Yannis Stournaras blamed market turmoil in other countries, such as Italy, as the reason behind the recent drop in Greek banks' share prices, the FT wrote. Meanwhile, European Stability Mechanism Managing Director Klaus Regling told CNBC that it was unfair to make comparisons between Italy amid concerns on its deficit plans and Greece at the height of its debt crisis, as the former has always been in a much better situation due to its relatively smaller deficits, current account surplus and high private sector savings.

* The ECB did not object to a request from the Greek central bank to further cut the emergency liquidity assistance available to banks in the country by €200 million to €5.0 billion.

* Italian nonperforming bank loans fell 20.8% year on year in August after declining 20.9% in July, according to Bank of Italy data cited by MF. Loans to the private sector rose an annual 2.6% in August after climbing 2.5% in July.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Russia's financial authority is open to assisting Denmark and Estonia with their investigations into money laundering involving Danske Bank A/S' Estonian branch, after probes revealed that a significant part of cash that flowed through non-resident accounts at the branch originated in Russia, Børsen and Helsingin Sanomat reported. Separately, Danish Business Minister Rasmus Jarlov told Reuters that Denmark is in contact with U.S. authorities regarding the money laundering scandal involving Danske Bank's Estonian branch.

* Meanwhile, the ongoing money laundering scandal is affecting the borrowing costs of Danish banks, which are expected to pass on the extra cost to customers through higher loan interest rates, Affärsvärlden wrote.

* Tryg A/S reported third-quarter net profit of 627 million Danish kroner, down from 671 million kroner a year ago. Gross premium income rose on a yearly basis to 4.70 billion kroner from 4.58 billion kroner.

EASTERN EUROPE

* VTB Bank (PJSC) signed a memorandum to acquire an 81% stake in PJSC Sarovbusinessbank, one of the largest banks operating in Russia's Nizhny Novgorod region, and plans to close the deal by the end of 2018, after securing regulatory approvals.

* PJSC Moscow Exchange MICEX-RTS signed a strategic partnership agreement with the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange under which it will acquire a stake of up to 20% in the Kazakh counterpart, Banki.ru said.

* Polish asset manager Altus TFI SA decided to suspend redemptions on 11 closed-end funds until the end of February 2019, following the outflow of investments triggered by an investigation by Polish law enforcement authorities into the company's business dealings with financially troubled debt collector GetBack SA, news agency PAP reported.

* Zamira Hajiyeva, the wife of Jahangir Hajiyev, who headed OJSC International Bank of Azerbaijan between 2001 and 2015, has been identified as the first target of the new British unexplained wealth order legislation aimed at combating the proceeds of suspected corruption, Reuters said. Jahangir Hajiyev was convicted by an Azeri court in 2016 of fraud and embezzlement and sentenced to 15 years in jail.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: China issues anti-money laundering rules; Merrill Lynch Japan behind TSE glitch

Middle East & Africa: QNB Q3 profit up YOY; Moody's revises outlook on Egypt's banking system

Latin America: Brazil court OKs crypto account closures; 2 Dominican banks in M&A deal

North America: Study warns of crypto market implosion; JPMorgan wins French tax probe ruling

Global Insurance: Michael strengthens to Cat 4; September cat losses; Lloyd's Brexit payment vow

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Bullish German fintech Wirecard eyes voice-assistant commerce in new strategy: German financial technology firm Wirecard has set its sights on commerce done through voice-activated devices such as Amazon's Alexa.

Direct lenders target large-cap markets in hunt for scale: Private investment funds that provide debt have scaled up with multibillion euro funds to back big deals.

Leo Magno, Ed Meza, Danielle Rossingh, Gerard O'Dwyer, Beata Fojcik, Heather O'Brian, Brian McCulloch, Sophie Davies and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.

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This S&P Global Market Intelligence news article contains information released by S&P Global Ratings, a separately managed division of S&P Global.