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India mulls new regulatory body; AMP to consolidate operations


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India mulls new regulatory body; AMP to consolidate operations

* Bank of China Ltd., Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. were among the global systemically important banks that saw an increase in their overall systemic risk score from 2017 to 2018, according to data from the Financial Stability Board, an international consortium of bank regulators.


* The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission approved the appointment of Liu Jin as president of China Everbright Bank Co. Ltd. His term of office began Jan. 13.

* PICC Property & Casualty Co. Ltd. sold 400 million shares of Donghai Marine Insurance Co. Ltd., or 40% of the total shares in the marine insurer, to Ningbo Property Exchange Center for about 595 million yuan, Lanjinger reported.

* The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission will prioritize tidying up the assets of financial institutions based on "wrongdoing," dealing with shadow banking and stopping illegal credit from getting into the real estate sector, Reuters reported, quoting CBIRC Vice Chairman Huang Hong. The regulator will also focus on trimming the risk at financial institutions, according to Xiao Yuanqi, spokesperson for the regulator.


* Larger Japanese banks, including Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. and MUFG Bank Ltd., will review private rental property investment loans' guarantee requirements beginning April, following amendments to the country's Civil Code, Tokyo's The Nikkei reported. Larger banks are considering eliminating the requirement to provide legal successors as cosigners when signing loan contracts.

* South Korea-based insurance firms have urged the introduction of the new IFRS 17 accounting standards to be delayed, The Korea Times reported, quoting an official from the Korea Life Insurance Association. The standards were set to be introduced in 2022. The official said insurers would have to hold a large amount of capital ahead of the introduction of the new standards.

* South Korea's internet-only bank KakaoBank of Korea Corp. said the total sales of its medium-interest rate loans have reached 1 trillion won, the Maeil Business Newspaper reported.

* Private moneylenders in South Korea have had to scale down their loan services mostly because of the country's decision to cut the maximum interest rates that they can charge, The Korea Times reported, citing a spokesperson for the Consumer Loan Finance Association. Apro Financial Co. Ltd., for one, plans to wind down its loan business by 2024.


* Thailand's Government Savings Bank will be accepting applications for the position of its president and CEO between Jan. 20 and 31, Post Today reported. The lender plans to present a final candidate to the board of directors in February.

* Bambang Soesatyo, speaker of Indonesia's People's Consultative Assembly, asked the Supreme Audit Agency to conduct an audit of state-owned insurers and pension funds, The Jakarta Post reported. His comments came following reports of alleged misconduct at state-owned insurers PT Asuransi Jiwasraya (Persero) and Asuransi Sosial Angkatan Bersenjata Republik Indonesia.

* Bank Indonesia imposed a merchant discount rate of 0.7% for around every transaction made through the recent Quick Response Indonesia Standard, The Jakarta Post reported.

* Singapore-headquartered Golden Equator Group will expand into Brunei, The Business Times reported. The group is looking to operate in the southeast Asian country through Golden Equator Wealth, which will focus on ultra-high-net-worth clients, Golden Equator Consulting and potentially a workplace business division.

* Singapore-based EFA Group finished the first close of its Asia-Pacific direct-lending fund, targeting a US$300 million final close by the end of 2020, after receiving commitments from its management team as well as existing and new institutional investors, The Business Times reported. The fund will provide loans secured against real assets to companies in Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand.


* India is considering the creation of a new regulatory body to oversee superannuation funds, products and schemes, Indo-Asian News Service reported.

* Standard Chartered PLC appointed Samrat Khosla head of its wealth management business in India, effective Feb. 1, The Economic Times reported. Khosla will succeed Nitin Singh, who has left the bank.

* MoneyGram International Inc. and EbixCash World Money Ltd. entered into a strategic partnership under which the firms will give each other access to their platforms, according to a release.

* Bond investors in Reliance Home Finance Ltd. are looking to file a complaint against Grant Thornton and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP to the National Financial Reporting Authority, among other options, The Economic Times reported, citing market sources. The complainants allege that the auditors failed in spotting irregularities at the nonbank financial company, which has been taken to the National Company Law Tribunal. A separate report from the publication said a forensic audit by Grant Thornton on Reliance Home Finance found that it gave loans worth 120 billion rupees to "potentially indirectly linked" clients with weak finances.

* Morgan Stanley Private Equity is in discussions to acquire a 20% holding in Centrum Housing Finance Ltd. for 10 billion to 12 billion rupees, The Economic Times reported, citing multiple sources aware of the matter.

* Bangladesh Bank has approved the establishment of Strategic Finance and Investment, a proposed nonbank financial institution, Dhaka Tribune reported, citing M. Serajul Islam, a spokesperson for the regulator. The firm will receive an operating license after it meets enhanced paid-up capital requirements.


* AMP Ltd. is conducting a large-scale transfer of assets to combine its seven superannuation funds into two, Super Directions Fund and the Wealth Fund, with the first expected to be consolidated by the end of 2020, The Australian Financial Review reported, citing a spokesperson. It also plans to reduce the number of trustees in its structure by half, with NM Super becoming the only trustee.

* The Australian Securities and Investments Commission plans to focus more on superannuation trustees, auditors and so-called buy-now-pay-later firms in 2020, The Australian Financial Review reported, quoting ASIC Chairman James Shipton. The authority will expand its focus on corporate governance and nonfinancial risks from banks to other sectors.

* U.S.-based Bain Capital LP promoted Mike Murphy to partner and Charles Lawson to principal, The Australian Financial Review’s Street Talk blog reported. Lawson and Murphy are now the heads of the firm's Australian team. The report added that the firm is looking to reinforce its team in Australia.

* Westpac Banking Corp. acting CEO Peter King said it would pay mortgages for a year of its customers whose houses were destroyed in recent bushfires, The Australian reported. It will also offer such customers interest-free loans to deal with insurance payments and rebuilding costs.


Middle East & Africa: Lebanese central bank seeks more powers; Tunisian parliament rejects government

Europe: BoE rate cut backed; HSBC kicks off French unit sale; Wirecard chair resigns

Latin America: Argentina sets debt renegotiation deadline; Itaú Chile sells life insurance unit

North America: Tennessee banks in deal; Goldman plans to double China staff in 5 years

Global Insurance: Solvency II review impact; Aegon coal strategy; MS Amlin startup; R&Q succession

R Sio, Sally Wang, Sarun Saelee, Cathy Hwang, Emi White and Aditya Suharmoko contributed to this report.

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