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Westpac weighs financial planning arm sale; Anbang taps JPMorgan for Vivat deal

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Westpac weighs financial planning arm sale; Anbang taps JPMorgan for Vivat deal

GREATER CHINA

* Troubled Chinese insurer Anbang Insurance Group Co. Ltd. has tapped JPMorgan to manage the sale of Netherlands-based unit Vivat NV, Reuters reported, citing two people familiar with the matter. Anbang has reportedly approached a number of investment banks in August to pitch for a role in the €1.4 billion to €1.8 billion sale.

* The People's Bank of China and the Monetary Authority of Macau entered into a memorandum of understanding to boost cooperation on financial policies and supervision. Specifically, the two authorities will set up an information sharing and notification framework, as well as enhance exchange and training of financial talents, among others.

* Yi Gang, governor of the People's Bank of China, said the central bank will enhance its policy transmission mechanism to further boost financing support for smaller enterprises, Reuters reported, citing a statement on the bank's website. State and private companies will be treated equally on policies, such as credit and bond issuance, Yi added.

* China's four major state-owned banks plan to increase their credit lines for 2018 from their previous credit provision plans set at the beginning of the year, with loans for the second half to mainly flow into infrastructures, the 21st Century Business Herald reported. For example, Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. plans to increase its credit line to 1 trillion yuan from 900 billion yuan at the beginning of the year. Meanwhile, a number of banks said they would raise their investments in local government debts and retail loans.

* Hong Kong-based investment management group Rayliant Global Advisors has acquired U.S.-based Fusion Investment Group LLC in July but did not announce the transaction, Pittsburgh Business Times reported. Fusion Investment will become the Pittsburgh office of Rayliant Global Advisors starting Sept. 11.

JAPAN AND KOREA

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. affiliate Ant Financial Services Group partnered with Yahoo Japan Corp. to expand its mobile payments business to Japan, The Nikkei reported, citing the two companies. Ant Financial will also work with Japanese regional banks to promote its payment platform, AliPay (China) Internet Technology Co. Ltd.

* Japan-based Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. will invest up to ¥180 billion in strategic technology upgrades by March 2020, the Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun reported.

* South Korean private equity investor MBK Partners Ltd. will reap a capital gain of more than 2 trillion won on its sale of Orange Life Insurance Co. Ltd., formerly ING Life Insurance Korea Ltd., to Shinhan Financial Group Co. Ltd., Yonhap News Agency reported. MBK Partners bought the insurer for 1.84 trillion won in 2013 and recovered 1.7 trillion won in dividends and IPO share sales.

* MBK Partners' sale of Orange Life Insurance to Shinhan Financial Group is shifting the South Korean market's focus to TONGYANG Life Insurance Co. Ltd., ABL Life Insurance Co. Ltd., Lotte Insurance Co. Ltd. and MG Non-Life Insurance Co. Ltd. as the next potential acquisition targets, The Korea Economic Daily reported.

ASEAN

* The Office of Insurance Commission of Thailand said premium collection of life insurance for the first half of 2018 stood at 311.772 billion baht, up 4.53% year over year, while premium collection of nonlife insurance stood at 114.302 billion baht, up 5.19% year over year, the country's Daily News reported.

* Bank Indonesia Governor Perry Warjiyo said the central bank had intervened to the tune of 11.9 trillion rupiah in both the foreign exchange market and in buying government securities in the secondary market, Kompas reported. Meanwhile, the Indonesian government has raised tax rates by 2.5% to 10% on more than 1,000 items in a bid to defend the depreciating rupiah, Bisnis Indonesia reported.

* Djemi Suhenda has resigned as deputy president director of PT Bank Tabungan Pensiunan Nasional Tbk, Bisnis Indonesia reported.

* Malaysia's Securities Commission has ordered the promoter of Lavidacoin to cease all promotional activities, effective immediately, New Straits Times reported. The commission also added DSV Crypto Club, LUX Galaxies and VI Profit Galaxy, which were found to be promoting Lavidacoin, to its Investor Alert List after the issuance of a whitepaper for the offering of Lavidacoin to the public without regulator approval.

SOUTH ASIA

* India-based Centrum Capital Ltd. unit Centrum Financial Services Ltd. has agreed to acquire the supply chain finance business of L&T Finance Ltd., a subsidiary of L&T Finance Holdings Ltd. The business has a loan book of about 8 billion rupees, a staff of 50 professionals and operates out of 16 cities in the country.

* U.S.-based investment firm KKR & Co., Singapore's Temasek Holdings (Pte.) Ltd. and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board are among the companies interested in a 4% stake in India's SBI General Insurance Co. Ltd., Mint reported, citing two people directly aware of the development. State Bank of India received board approval for the sale of up to 4% stake in the insurer, which is being managed by Kotak Investment Banking.

* India-headquartered Karnataka Bank Ltd. said it will issue nonconvertible lower Tier 2 subordinated bonds amounting to 8 billion rupees in one or more tranches. The bonds, which will be issued on a private placement basis, will help increase the lender's capital funds.

* Moody's said its outlook on Sri Lanka's banking system is negative as the country's economy remains weak, asset quality will deteriorate, and higher borrowing costs caused by tighter monetary policy are adding to the debt burden of corporates. The outlook conveys the rating agency's expectation of how bank creditworthiness will evolve in the system over the next 12 to 18 months.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Westpac Banking Corp. is considering selling its financial planning arm as it prepares for potential outcomes from the interim or final reports of the financial services royal commission, The Australian Financial Review reported, citing unnamed sources. Westpac is said to have also considered an asset swap or retaining the division.

* Australian wealth manager Perpetual Ltd. has divested Commonwealth Bank of Australia from its A$1.3 billion ethical fund due to revelations of the lender's poor practices at the royal commission, Reuters reported, citing an investor update from Perpetual. The divestment applies to the wealth manager's ethical Australian share product, which listed CBA as one of its largest holdings as of April. However, Perpetual kept its large CBA holding in its mainstream equities product.

* ASX Ltd. has delayed the launch of distributed ledger technology, the blockchain-based replacement of the Clearing House Electronic Subregister System, by six months in response to industry concerns that its timeline for implementation was too ambitious, The Australian reported, citing a statement. The decision follows consultation between ASX and market players, revealing that there is "a strong interest in better understanding the potential benefits" the replacement can offer.

* New Zealand's Financial Services Council unveiled the FSC Code of Conduct, containing nine new standards for its members, as part of efforts to improve trust in the country's financial industry. Members that are found to have made a serious violation of the code could face fines of up to NZ$100,000 and removal from the industry body. The code will take effect Jan. 1, 2019.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Middle East & Africa: Citigroup snaps up Leumi stake; South Africa slips into recession

Europe: EU money-laundering shortcomings; TSB Pester's £1.7M in spotlight

Latin America: Chile maintains key rate; Costa Rica parliament OKs merger of state-owned banks

North America: Morgan Keegan settles Fairfax suit; Bank of Canada expected to keep rates steady

Global Insurance: Scor splits P&C biz; Enstar withdraws StarStone sale; Gordon flash flooding

Janna Estares, Sally Wang, Jonathan Cheah, Jaekwon Lim and Santibhap Ussavasodhi contributed to this report.

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