* U.K. Chancellor Sajid Javid urged companies to adjust to a future where the country will diverge from the EU's rules, single market and customs union, saying the split will be carried out by the end of 2020, the Financial Times reported. EU officials warned that such a split from the EU would be economically damaging, the newspaper noted.
* The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority received 1,441 applications between 2018 and 2019 from European financial firms seeking to access the country after Brexit through the regulator's temporary permission regime, The Times of London reported, citing data provided by regulatory consultancy Bovill. Meanwhile, Financial News wrote that British investment banks are facing pressure from clients and regulators to increase offices in Europe as the U.K. prepares to leave the EU at the end of the month.
UK AND IRELAND
* Bank of England figures showed corporate lending decreased in the fourth quarter of 2019 and is set to decrease further in the first three months of 2020, with banks and building societies citing a deteriorating economic outlook as the primary factor in the changes in credit availability.
* HSBC Holdings PLC plans to let go of about 100 employees in its equities division, most of whom will come from Europe and Asia, insiders told Reuters. The British banking group reportedly plans to refocus its European equities business on its home market in the U.K. while its Paris office becomes its EU base. Meanwhile, HSBC is looking to close more than 10 high-street branches in 2020 in a bid to reduce costs and boost profits, and is set to carry out the first closure in the next few weeks, according to The Sunday Times.
* British foreign exchange operator Travelex Ltd., which was hit by a ransomware attack at the end of 2019, said a phased restoration of its global systems has begun, Sky News reported. CEO Tony D'Souza said the company has not found any evidence suggesting that customer data was taken following the attack, the FT wrote.
* The U.K. FCA admitted that it does not hold any central record or index listing suspensions of investment funds, raising questions about the effectiveness of the regulator's oversight and its ability to protect investors, the FT wrote.
* Link Fund Solutions, the administrator of British fund manager Neil Woodford's £257 million Income Focus Fund, said it still expects to lift the freeze on trading in the fund's units no later than February, The Times of London reported.
* British insurer Hastings Group Holdings PLC expects its 2019 loss ratio to range from 81% to 82% before the impact of the Ogden rate change, compared to its full-year target of 75% to 79% set out in its nine-month trading update, saying it saw elevated claims costs in the fourth quarter of 2019.
* Proxy adviser group Institutional Shareholder Services called on shareholders of Virgin Money UK Plc to vote against the British challenger bank's remuneration report at its Jan. 29 annual meeting, saying CEO David Duffy's pay package — which would allow him to pocket up to £5.1 million in 2020 — was excessive, The Sunday Times reported.
* Permanent TSB Group Holdings PLC CFO Eamonn Crowley and Group Director of Operations Shane O'Sullivan are the only internal figures on a list of 10 candidates vying to replace Jeremy Masding as CEO of the Irish bank, insiders told The Irish Times.
* A group of investors in struggling British minibond firm Blackmore Bond urged CEO Patrick McCreesh to appoint restructuring and insolvency specialist Duff & Phelps to perform an independent review of the company's business over concerns about Blackmore's financial health, The Times of London wrote.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA
* Deutsche Bank AG is slashing bonuses at its investment bank unit by about 30% in a bid to sharpen the variation in payouts for top and lower performers as it carries out its €7.4 billion restructuring plan, insiders told Bloomberg News. Overall, variable pay will fall about 20% across the bank's divisions, which will translate into €400 million in savings.
* Swiss cryptocurrency-focused lender SEBA Bank AG, formerly SEBA Crypto AG, plans to raise CHF100 million from new investors in a second funding round, Financial News wrote.
* At least 16 financial institutions in Germany, primarily community banks and savings bank, introduced negative interest rates for private customers or increased existing penalty interest rates on savings accounts in the first weeks of 2020, Handelsblatt reported, referring to data from Internet comparison portal Verivox Finanzvergleich GmbH. Overall, 186 banks in Germany are now collecting fees from savers instead of paying interest as they used to do, Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote, citing data from finance portal Biallo & Team GmbH.
* Südwestbank AG, after a phase of substantial cost savings, now seeks to increase return on equity to 15% from currently 5%, Börsen-Zeitung wrote.
* Switzerland's public prosecution is seeking information on the troubled relationship between Credit Suisse Group AG CEO Tidjane Thiam and former wealth management head Iqbal Khan as part of its criminal investigation into the alleged spying on the latter, SonntagZeitung/Tages-Anzeiger and Sonntagsblick reported.
* Credit Suisse Group launched a subsidiary in Ireland called SCALE Aviation DAC as a financing and liquidity provider for the global aviation industry.
* A new labor agreement with far-reaching concessions for employees and a location guarantee for branches is paving the way for the planned merger of insurance groups Provinzial NordWest Konzern and Provinzial Rheinland Konzern, Handelsblatt wrote.
FRANCE AND BENELUX
* U.S. financial services firm JPMorgan Chase & Co. will relocate between 100 and 150 bankers from London to Paris in September, Les Echos wrote.
* British investment firm AnaCap is in the process of taking over HSBC French retail business, whose sale process has reportedly being launched, Le Figaro reported, citing sources.
SPAIN AND PORTUGAL
* Police on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria raided a Deutsche Bank branch there as part of an anti-drug operation, Handelsblatt wrote, adding that the bank has not been accused of any wrongdoing yet.
* Portugal's Finance Ministry said the 2020 budget did not envision injecting another €1.4 billion into state-rescued Novo Banco SA, Público reported. The newspaper had reported that the government was considering a plan to finalize support to Novo Banco from the country's banking resolution fund with a last €1.4-billion boost under the terms of the contingent capital mechanism that was created as part of the bank's sale to U.S. private equity fund Lone Star. Separately, Dinheiro Vivo reported that if Lone Star was to sell Novo Banco after 2021 — which could lead to Novo Banco's merger with another local bank — state-owned Caixa Geral de Depósitos SA was seen as possible buyer of some of its assets.
* Portugal's Haitong Bank SA recorded a capital gain of €1.97 million from the €12 million sale of its Irish subsidiary, Jornal de Negócios reported.
* Portuguese prosecutors carried out a series of raids last week as part of an investigation into the source of funds used in a 2013 capital increase by Portugal's Banco Montepio SA, formerly Caixa Económica Montepio Geral Caixa Económica Bancária SA, Jornal Económico reported. Jornal de Negócios reported that the probe had found the bank had granted almost €70 million in unguaranteed loans to José Guilherme between 2011 and 2014, some of which was used to buy shares in Monetepio.
* Portugal's Banco BIC Português SA, in which Angolan billionaire Isabel Dos Santos has a stake, has lost a €3.7 million lawsuit against tax authorities in the European country, dealing another blow to the businesswoman's operations, Expresso reported.
ITALY AND GREECE
* Cerved Group SpA is deciding between two offers for its credit management business, a €450 million cash offer from Intrum AB (publ) and a proposal from Credito Fondiario SpA to merge its bad loan management operations with Cerved's in a deal that would see Cerved maintain a 70% stake and pave the way for a listing of the business, Milano Finanza said. The newspaper added that the stock market listing could take place as early as 2021 and see Cerved's 70% stake in the combined group with Credito Fondiario valued at about €700 million.
* Società Cattolica di Assicurazione - SC's board said it opposed a proposal by dissident shareholders to modify the insurer's statute, wrote Il Sole 24 Ore.
* Denmark-based Vestjysk Bank A/S now expects its full-year 2019 after-tax profit to be between 470 million kroner to 480 million kroner, up from the previous range of 420 million kroner to 460 million kroner, following continued positive performance in the fourth quarter of 2019.
* SEB Private Equity, owned by SEB, has reached a final agreement to sell the Sweden-based smart lifting solutions company Tawi Ab to Piab Ab, Dagens Industri reported.
* The Norwegian Consumer Council has so far spent 17 million kroner in litigation costs relating to its class-action lawsuit against DNB, which will soon be heard before Norway's Supreme Court, e24.no wrote. The NCC is representing 180,000 DNB customers who invested in DNB's funds during the 2010-2014 period.
* Turkey's Competition Authority is investigating several banks over alleged violations in foreign exchange and other services, Reuters reported, citing Turkish media.
* Russia's State Duma is set to start legislative work on a bill that will ban banks from charging clients higher fees for certain transactions under the pretext of combating money laundering, Kommersant reported. The bill is also aimed at prohibiting lenders from imposing higher fees for the transfer of funds from legal entities to individuals.
* PAO Sberbank of Russia will begin the transfer of most of the companies included in its SberX ecosystem to a single brand in June 2020, RBC wrote.
* Bank Pekao SA and Apollo Global Management Inc. filed nonbinding offers for the purchase of Commerzbank AG unit mBank SA, Rzeczpospolita reported, citing Bloomberg. Crédit Agricole SA and PKO Bank Polski SA are also expected to submit bids, but the latter will most likely refrain from filing an offer until its upcoming supervisory board meeting, the newspaper noted.
* The Polish Bank Guarantee Fund launched a special resolution procedure for Poland's second largest cooperative bank Podkarpacki Bank Spóldzielczy, news agency PAP reported. Loans and deposits will be moved from the lender to Bank Nowy BFG, a bridge institution, which the Bank Guarantee Fund will seek to sell to other banks at a later stage.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: Global shadow bank assets fall since 2008; HSBC to cut jobs in Europe, Asia
Middle East & Africa: Access Bank to complete acquisition; NBB set to own controlling stake in peer
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