* The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, also known as SWIFT, will set up a wholly foreign-owned unit in Beijing to provide localized services to Chinese users, Caixin reported. SWIFT will accept the yuan as a settlement currency, in addition to the U.S. dollar and the euro.
* Li Yangyong, general manager of Bank of Communications Co. Ltd.'s development and research department, is suspected of violating laws and is under disciplinary investigation, a phrase usually used to refer to corruption, Caijing reported.
* Analysts said China may further lower its reserve requirement ratio for banks in 2019 and expects the central bank to cut the ratio by 50 basis points each in the coming three quarters to reach 12% at the end of the year, Reuters reported.
* The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Ltd. is leaning towards removing paper applications for IPOs and shifting towards an entirely electronic filling, the South China Morning Post reported, citing two people familiar with the matter. The move could cut the time between the close of an IPO and the first day of trading.
JAPAN AND KOREA
* According to the data released by Japan's Investment Trust Association, total investment in the Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance criteria reached ¥38.180 trillion as of the end of November 2018, accounting for about 20% of the total investment balance, Tokyo's The Nikkei reported. The data is based on the response received from 52 asset management companies.
* KB Financial Group Inc. and Shinhan Financial Group Co. Ltd. became the first South Korean companies to join Bloomberg's Gender Equality Index, which tracks how 230 global firms promote women's workplace equality, The Korea Herald reported.
* Disagreements between staff and the management of KB Kookmin Bank over labor-related issues have continued to worsen, The Korea Times reported. For their part, the lender's union employees have threatened to take further action, including a planned strike on Jan. 30, if the management does not comply with the former's demands.
* The Bank of Thailand appointed Dej Titivanich assistant governor of information technology group, effective Jan. 15, Manager Daily reported.
* The Thai Finance Ministry has voiced support for the planned merger between TMB Bank PCL and Thanachart Bank PCL, and is looking to inject additional capital in a bid to maintain its status as a major shareholder with a 20% stake in the new merged entity, Post Today reported, citing Lavaron Sangsnit, director of the Fiscal Policy Office.
* Bank Indonesia kept the seven-day reverse repo rate unchanged at 6%, and maintained the deposit facility and lending facility rates at 5.25% and 6.75%, respectively.
* Bank Indonesia Deputy Governor Sugeng said the central bank is processing licenses for foreign payment system operators to do business in the country, in partnership with local banks, Infobank reported. PT Bank CIMB Niaga Tbk has requested for a license to cooperate with Alipay, while, PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia (Persero) Tbk and PT Bank Central Asia Tbk are currently completing their documentations.
* Edelweiss Alternative Asset Advisors Ltd., a unit of Edelweiss Financial Services Ltd., closed an alternatives fund that raised up to 92 billion Indian rupees from global investors including pension funds and insurance firms. The company plans to use the proceeds to purchase and turn around stressed assets in India.
* State Bank of India has completed the issuance of up to US$1.25 billion worth of fixed-rate unsecured notes in two tranches. The US$850 million five-year notes carry a coupon of 4.375%, while the US$400 million three-year notes carry a coupon of 4%, which are payable semi-annually.
* India-based Federal Bank Ltd. posted a net profit of 3.34 billion rupees for the fiscal third quarter from 2.60 billion rupees in the prior-year quarter.
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
* A majority of Australian share funds have posted a median loss of 4.2% for the 2018 financial year, marking their worst performance in almost 10 years, The Australian reported, citing an investment survey by consulting firm Mercer.
* Citigroup Inc. appointed David Livingstone, head of the group's Australian division, to the role of CEO for Europe, Middle East and Africa, The Australian Financial Review reported, citing an internal memo.
* A proposal by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand to revise and increase bank capital requirements could trigger dividend reductions among major Australian lenders, which comprise 88% of banking assets in New Zealand, The Australian reported, citing UBS analysts.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Middle East & Africa: Samba FY'18 profit up 10%; Hapoalim joins SWIFT; Access Bank plots expansion
Europe: SocGen to take €240M hit; German tie-up seen as unwise; Brexit delay in sight
Latin America: Chile sets date for merger of regulators; XP Investimentos partner leaving
North America: Morgan Stanley Q4'18 net revenues down; BB&T profit up in Q4'18
Global Insurance: US P&C insurers log $4.7B underwriting gain; MGIC earnings; Mercer gets new CEO
Janna Estares, Sally Wang, Sarun Saelee, Cathy Hwang, Emi White and Aditya Suharmoko contributed to this report.
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