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Funding Circle plans £300M IPO; Wonga victims may not get paid


* Peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle Ltd. is considering launching an IPO to raise gross proceeds of about £300 million. Heartland A/S has agreed to buy 10% of the company in any offer, the proceeds of which would help Funding Circle grow in new or existing markets.

* Customers that fell victim to misselling by U.K. payday lender Wonga Group Ltd., which went into administration last week, may struggle to receive compensation, after it emerged investment fund Kreos Capital will have first rights to any proceeds, having lent the company almost €38 million two years ago, The Times reported.

* HSBC Holdings PLC is set to launch a new stand-alone digital bank as early as this year in "beta" testing mode that is expected to focus on small business customers, an insider told The Daily Telegraph.

* Standard Life Aberdeen PLC completed the sale of Standard Life Assurance Ltd. to Phoenix Group Holdings, while also confirming plans to return up to £1.75 billion to shareholders.

* Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC is considering holding an extraordinary general meeting in early 2019 to gain investor approval for a share buyback program to reduce the British government's 62.4% stake in the lender, The Times reported.

* RBS CEO Ross McEwan told BBC News the bank may have to let a number of business customers go should the U.K. and EU not agree on a Brexit deal. McEwan noted the lender was still waiting for final approval on licenses for its Amsterdam operation, which was set up to serve its European clients.


* Swiss Life Holding AG completed the purchase of German corporate real estate investment manager BEOS AG, following approval from competition authorities.

* Deutsche Bank AG has been given an extra year by the U.S. Federal Reserve to work out a contingency plan for times of financial crises, Handelsblatt wrote. It must now present such a plan by July 1, 2020.

* Credit Suisse Group AG CEO Tidjane Thiam told Bloomberg TV that despite less client activity amid recent tensions in global trade relations, he is optimistic for a "return to normalcy," saying he thinks well-managed economies were safe and would remain stable. He does not see contagion risk from the currency crises in Turkey and Argentina, and said Credit Suisse seeks to expand in China.

* Julius Bär Gruppe AG is expanding in the U.K. despite Brexit. After establishing branches in Manchester, Leeds and Edinburgh earlier this year, the Swiss bank is now opening another office in Belfast and seeks to increase its AUM in the U.K. and Ireland by 43% to about £20 billion by 2020, Bloomberg News wrote.

* German insurer Allianz Group appointed Bart Schlatmann CEO of its European direct business, effective Sept. 1. Schlatmann joins from PAO Sberbank of Russia, where he served as chief transformation officer.


* The New York State Department of Financial Services cleared French insurer Axa's pending acquisition of XL Insurance Co. of New York Inc. and XL Reinsurance America Inc.

* Oney, the banking subsidiary of French retailer Auchan, is looking to expand to become a European leader, L'Agefi reported. The company, which has operations in France, Spain and Italy, and will launch in Belgium in September, wants to have a presence in 15 countries within three years.


* Fitch Ratings revised its outlook on Italy to negative from stable, saying the government might implement policies that could increase the country's exposure to potential shocks. Following the move, Italian Economy Minister Giovanni Tria said the country would respect its EU budget commitments, wrote Reuters.

* The European Commission approved Italy's request to extend by six months state guarantees on the senior tranche of Italian bad debt securitization deals, Il Sole 24 Ore reported.

* Piraeus Bank SA reported second-quarter net profit attributable to shareholders from continuing operations of €24 million, up from €10 million a year ago.

* National Bank of Greece SA reported second-quarter profit after tax from continued operations of €21 million, compared to a loss of €49 million a year ago.

* Vittoria Capital acquired an additional 38.39% of Vittoria Assicurazioni SpA in a public offer that was 94.17% taken up by shareholders, said Il Sole 24 Ore, a result that paves the way for the delisting of shares in the insurer.


* The Norwegian financial regulator is tightening restrictions on the consumer lending market, Dagens Næringsliv reported. It said consumer banks have not followed new guidelines introduced last year, and therefore is proposing to turn them into regulations. Among other things, they will require stricter assessments of lenders' ability to repay loans.

* Sweden-based Zmarta Group offered to acquire Insplanet AB (publ), which develops digital services focused on insurance products and private loans, for about 176 million kronor. Zmarta provides a range of services within consumer finance. A combined company is expected to become a leading digital comparison service for personal finance services in Sweden.


* Turkey reduced the tax on lira savings, while hiking that on foreign-currency deposits in a bid to boost its struggling currency.

* Mikhail Zadornov, the head of Otkritie Financial Corp. Bank, which was bailed out by the Russian central bank in Aug. 2017, expects the lender will earn 20 billion Russian rubles in 2019, news agency TASS reported, citing Izvestia. The executive also expects Otkritie to close 2018 with a profit.

* The Russian central bank estimates that state-owned JSC Russian Agricultural Bank needs 40 billion Russian rubles of additional capital and would like to see the lender to complete a recapitalization by the end of this year, Vedomosti reported, citing sources close to the regulator and the Russian government.

* Polish lender Idea Bank SA agreed to sell a 15% stake in unit Idea Getin Leasing to key shareholder Leszek Czarnecki for 75 million Polish zlotys, with proceeds from the transaction to help the lender bring its capital adequacy ratios in line with the requirements of the Polish Financial Supervision Authority, Rzeczpospolita reported.

* Piotr Osiecki resigned as supervisory board chairman at Polish asset manager ALTUS Towarzystwo Funduszy Inwestycyjnych SA, news agency PAP said. Polish news media outlets earlier reported that the executive, along with the management board deputy president of Altus unit Rockbridge TFI, were detained by law enforcement authorities over the 2017 sale of EGB Investments to debt collector GetBack SA.


Asia-Pacific: Fubon Life/Hyundai Life deal gets nod; Macquarie said to exit Yellow Brick Road

Middle East & Africa: Old Mutual to enter South Africa's banking market; Oman Arab Bank names new CEO

Latin America: Argentina hikes key rate as peso continues to slide; Banco BMG readies IPO

North America: Wells to merge bank brokerage, wirehouse units; JPMorgan to close $1B hedge fund

Global Insurance: Ashmere faces scrutiny; Catalina poised for Maiden arm; Lloyd's loses key exec


Robo-advice no neat fit for UBS, industry experts say as bank cans SmartWealth: As UBS quietly shelves its SmartWealth product, industry experts say robo-advice was always going to be an uneasy fit because of the Swiss bank's culture.

Eurozone bank stocks worst performers so far in 2018, UBS says: Eurozone bank stocks have lost 15% of their value since the start of 2018 and are the worst-performing sector in the Eurostoxx benchmark index, according to UBS analysts.

Ben Meggeson, Arno Maierbrugger, Danielle Rossingh, Esben Svendsen, Beata Fojcik, Heather O'Brian, Stephanie Salti, Sophie Davies and Helen Popper contributed to this report.

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