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Raymond James cuts trading fees; Puerto Rico banks in deal

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Raymond James cuts trading fees; Puerto Rico banks in deal

Raymond James Financial Inc. became the latest firm to eliminate transaction fees for stocks, exchange-traded funds and options for independent advisers in its Investment Advisors Division, CNBC reports. The move only impacts the fee-based accounts offered by certain Raymond James financial advisers, which has no direct trades by the client, according to the report. Bank of America Corp. also announced that it will provide commission-free stock, exchange-traded funds and options trading to clients in all tiers of its Preferred Rewards Program through its Merrill Edge Self-Directed platform.

Regions Financial Corp., Fifth Third Bancorp, CIT Group Inc. reported quarterly results early this morning. Discover Financial Services is also expected to report earnings today.

In Puerto Rico, First BanCorp. agreed to acquire in-state peer Banco Santander Puerto Rico in an all-cash deal of approximately $1.1 billion. Under the deal, Banco Santander Puerto Rico and its parent company Santander BanCorp will be merged into First BanCorp. unit FirstBank Puerto Rico. The transaction is expected to close during mid-2020.

Bank of Hawaii Corp. reached a tentative settlement in a putative class-action lawsuit, which claimed that Bank of Hawaii improperly assessed overdraft fees on some account transactions. The tentative settlement with the named plaintiff provides for forgiveness of certain related and previously charged off overdraft fees, and includes a payment of $8.0 million by the company into a class settlement fund.

A federal judge has ruled that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency cannot issue bank charters to firms not taking deposits, dealing a blow to the agency's efforts to offer special-purpose national charters to financial technology firms. Judge Victor Marrero in the Oct. 21 ruling also denied the agency's proposal to apply the ruling to only applicants chartered in New York or that intend to do business in New York. The OCC is expected to appeal the latest ruling.

Zions Bancorp NA projects up to a 15% decrease to a 5% increase in its reserve levels post the implementation of the current expected credit loss standard on Jan. 1, 2020, CFO Paul Burdiss said on an earnings call. The estimate is based on current economic conditions and is "likely to change between now and adoption." On the same call, Zions Bancorp CEO Harris Simmons said that the company will be cutting 5% of its workforce to improve its operating efficiency.

U.S. Bancorp is planning to cut thousands of branch workers, representing less than 2% of the bank's workforce, in a bid to adjust to changing customer preferences, a source for Bloomberg News says. The cuts, which will be in the low thousands, will see job categories like teller coordinator and assistant branch manager get eliminated or will have the headcount lowered, according to the report.

Fidelity Investments dropped Fisher Investments as a money manager after its Founder and Chairman, Kenneth Fisher, allegedly made sexist remarks, Reuters reports, citing a Fidelity spokesman. Fisher Investments managed $500 million in Fidelity's $8 billion Fidelity Strategic Advisers Small-Mid Cap Fund and those assets have reportedly been reallocated within the fund, according to the report.

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif. and Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, are seeking more information from financial regulators about the 2019 changes to the Volcker Rule and have urged the agencies to reconsider the decision to adopt the changes and any further amendments to the rule. In a letter to the heads of the Federal Reserve, OCC, Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Waters and Brown expressed concerns over the revisions to the financial crisis-era rule that prohibits banks from proprietary trading saying they "open the door to the very risky, speculative activities that Congress sought to prohibit."

In other parts of the world

Asia Pacific: Temasek offering to raise Keppel stake to 51%; Japan to stress test banks

Europe: UBS Q3 profit falls 16%; Santander unit sells for $1B; BNP buys Allfunds stake

Middle East & Africa: KFH Q3 profit rises YOY; Visa to open new HQ in Dubai; Ghana aims to go cashless

Now featured on S&P Global Market Intelligence

Several US regional banks miss on net interest margin despite lower expectations : Many analysts anticipated a weak third-quarter earnings report for the U.S. banking sector due to net interest margin, or NIM, pressure. For some banks, it was even worse than expected.

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a mixed opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng gained 0.23% to 26,786.20.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 lifted 0.37% to 7,189.91, and the Euronext 100 fell 0.11% to 1,091.46.

On the macro front

Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.

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