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Lloyd's of London, Alpha Bank post losses; Axa ups stake in German insurer

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Lloyd's of London, Alpha Bank post losses; Axa ups stake in German insurer

* EU banking authorities are retaining a June-end deadline for lenders with U.K. operations to apply for a eurozone license in preparation for Britain's exit from the bloc despite an agreed draft 21-month transition deal to phase in Brexit, the Financial Times reported.

* EU Single Resolution Board Chair Elke König said lenders in the bloc must quickly Brexit-proof their minimum requirement for own funds and eligible liabilities, which they use to shore up their capital defenses, Reuters wrote.

* EU governments will demand "unilateral" power over how U.K. banks' can operate in the bloc post-Brexit during talks with Britain in April on their future trading relationship, Reuters reported.

* European Parliament member Danuta Hübner said a "strong majority" in the relevant parliament committees is in favor of granting the ECB power over clearing of euro-denominated financial contracts, which is dominated by London, Bloomberg News reported. Hübner noted that lawmakers are still discussing the appropriate level of control the ECB needs to act effectively on specific issues.

UK AND IRELAND

* Lloyd's of London reported an aggregated market loss before tax of £2.0 billion for full year 2017, compared to a profit of £2.1 billion a year earlier. Lloyd's attributed the loss, its first in six years, to "challenging market conditions" and the "significant impact from the natural catastrophes."

* Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc CEO Ross McEwan said he was hopeful the lender will be able to reach a settlement in 2018 with the U.S. Department of Justice over the alleged misselling of residential mortgage-backed securities during the 2008 financial crisis, Reuters reported.

* U.K. Treasury Select Committee Chair Nicky Morgan has urged the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority to probe Aviva Plc's plans to cancel £450 million of preference shares.

* Virgin Money Holdings (UK) Plc agreed to a strategic joint venture with Standard Life Aberdeen Plc's Aberdeen Standard Investments to provide asset management services to Virgin Money's customers.

* U.K. financier Edi Truell has partnered with U.S. private equity firm Warburg Pincus to support a pension superfund that will combine £500 billion of assets and liabilities of private sector retirement plans, according to the Financial Times.

* Conor O'Kelly, CEO of Ireland's National Treasury Management Agency, said investors who lend to the state see the possible sale of the Irish government's stakes in local lenders as an opportunity to cut debt, the Irish Independent reported.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* The books for Deutsche Bank AG's planned IPO of its DWS asset management division are covered by two-and-a-half times, an insider told Reuters. The bookbuilding will run until tomorrow, with the stock scheduled to start trading on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange on Friday.

* German digital lender N26 GmbH raised $160 million in a series C funding round led by China's Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Allianz Group technology investment unit Allianz X.

* P&R Group, a Munich-based firm investing in ship containers, declared bankruptcy, leaving around 50,000 investors with a total volume of €3.5 billion in the dark as to how to get their money back, Süddeutsche Zeitung reported.

* FMS Wertmanagement AöR, the wind-up bank of Hypo Real Estate Holding GmbH, is looking into the possibility of selling Irish subsidiary Depfa Bank Plc, Capital reported.

* Swiss authorities brought charges against three German individuals, a lawyer and two former employees of Swiss banks, on the grounds of alleged corporate espionage surrounding the tax dodging scandal of so-called cum-ex dividend deals involving Bank J. Safra Sarasin AG, Die Zeit wrote.

FRANCE AND BENELUX

* Axa increased its stake in German legal expense insurer Roland Rechtsschutz-Versicherungs-AG to 60% from 41%, Handelsblatt wrote.

* BNP Paribas SA is reacting to new regulations in the U.S. by seeking growth and synergies between its investment bank in New York and its main U.S. subsidiary in California, Les Echos reported. La Tribune added that the aim is to create a universal bank on the French model and become one of the top three foreign banks in the U.S. by 2020.

* French Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire confirmed on the Numerama website that France is developing a system to promote the use of cryptocurrencies and so-called initial coin offerings, with regulators granting "visas" for ICOs that meet basic criteria, Les Echos reported.

* The books for the IPO of NIBC Holding NV are covered at its base deal size, according to Reuters.

SPAIN AND PORTUGAL

* Sareb, the Spanish government's so-called bad bank, is considering bringing to the market its largest portfolio of toxic assets to date, Expansión reported. The entity, in partnership with a large international fund, is looking to create a vehicle where it would place loans that have real estate guarantees. Sareb is expected to take a minority stake in the joint venture.

* Catalonian bank deposits amounted to €153.3 billion at the end of the fourth quarter of 2017, their lowest level since June 2006, compared to €184.7 billion three months earlier, according to data from the Spanish central bank, Reuters wrote.

* Jerónimo Martínez Tello, former supervising director at Spain's central bank, told an investigating congressional committee that the €22 billion public bailout of Bankia SA in 2012 was higher than necessary because then-incoming President José Ignacio Goirigolzarri wanted to "cover his own back," Europa Press wrote.

ITALY AND GREECE

* Net nonperforming loans in Italy in January fell 32% compared with the peak levels at 2016-end, coming in at €59.3 billion, compared with €64.1 billion in December, according to a report from the ABI banking association, MF reported.

* Italian lender Credito Valtellinese SpA said its €700 million capital increase was fully subscribed.

* Generali launched Generali Global Infrastructure, a €1 billion fund that will invest in infrastructure debt, MF reported.

* Alpha Bank AE reported a fourth-quarter 2017 loss after tax attributable to shareholders of €64.0 million, compared to a profit of €35.5 million in the previous quarter. For full year 2017, attributable profit dropped year over year to €21.1 million from €42.1 million. In an earnings call, the Greek lender's executives said the bank is closer to its cleanup targets for 2018 following the sale of a bad loan portfolio with a face value of €3.7 billion.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* The Swedish FSA is planning to expand the mortgage amortization requirements to also cover mortgage credit institutions, DI Digital reported. The reason is that uncovered institutions, like startup Enkla, are offering cheap mortgages and the regulator is worried about the risks connected with this. New regulation may come into force in the autumn.

* Sweden-based Hoist Finance AB (publ) said the company is ready to purchase nonperforming credit portfolios from Greece's banks, which aim to dispose of loans that turned soured during the country's debt crisis, Bloomberg News wrote.

* The Danish Financial Services Authority has approved Alm. Brand A/S's acquisition of Saxo Privatbank A/S from Saxo Bank A/S for 360 million Danish kroner, Finanswatch reported.

* Payment services provider Nets A/S is planning efficiency measures that could affect 175 full-time jobs, Berlingske Business reported.

EASTERN EUROPE

* State-owned JSC Russian Agricultural Bank asked its shareholder, the Federal Agency for State Property Management, for a capital boost in order to comply with capital adequacy requirements and issue more loans, Vedomosti said.

* PAO Sberbank of Russia plans to transfer part of its loans granted to Russian defense sector companies to PAO Promsvyazbank, Vedomosti said.

* PJSC United Financial Capital Bank has suspended operations and stopped accepting deposits, Vedomosti said.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: Chinese P2P lender prices US IPO; Sony Life hits roadblocks in Australian deal

Middle East & Africa: Ghana's UniBank placed in administration; FAB gets nod for Saudi commercial biz

Latin America: Banco de Bogotá Q4'17 profit down; Garantía de Valores acquisition gets nod

North America: SEC awards Merrill Lynch whistleblowers $83M; Powell's 1st Fed meeting today

North America Insurance: Tennessee House OKs Medicaid work approval; omnibus bill excludes ACA payments

NOW FEATURED ON S&P GLOBAL MARKET INTELLIGENCE

UK insolvencies failing to harden credit insurance market: An abundance of capacity in both the primary and reinsurance markets is keeping premium rates low in the cutthroat trade credit insurance industry, despite recent high-profile losses in the U.K.

UK government launches long-awaited personal injury bill: The Civil Liability Bill aims to curb whiplash claims and change the way the personal injury discount rate is set, benefiting U.K. motor insurer.

CME's interest in NEX may spark bidding war among exchanges: CME is weighing a potential bid to acquire NEX Group, but it may not be alone in its pursuit for the London-based electronic-trading company.

Sheryl Obejera, Arno Maierbrugger, Danielle Rossingh, Esben Svendsen, Beata Fojcik, Yael Schrage, Brian McCulloch, Sophie Davies and Helen Popper contributed to this report.

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