* The European Banking Authority urged financial institutions to increase efforts to inform customers about how Brexit could affect them and their contractual or statutory rights, after it found "little evidence" of such firms communicating effectively.
UK AND IRELAND
* Malaysia has filed criminal charges against three units of U.S. investment banking giant Goldman Sachs Group Inc., including U.K.-based Goldman Sachs International, in connection with their roles in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd. corruption and money laundering scandal, The Wall Street Journal reported. Goldman told the Journal it believes the charges are misdirected and that it will "vigorously defend them."
* Fitch Ratings could lower the U.K.'s credit rating in early 2019 if the country leaves the EU without a formal withdrawal deal, the rating agency's top sovereign analyst told Reuters, adding that a no-deal Brexit would likely send Britain into a recession.
* The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority proposed changes on how banks charge for overdrafts, including setting a single interest rate and preventing lenders from charging higher prices for unarranged overdrafts. The regulator also announced measures aimed at addressing harm to consumers in the home-collected credit, catalogue credit and store card sectors.
* Standard Chartered PLC has agreed on conditions for the spin-off of its private equity business, which it envisions happening in the first half of 2019 as part of a management buyout. The deal is expected to incur roughly $160 million in restructuring costs.
* SME Alliance, a group representing small U.K. businesses, has filed a complaint with the Financial Conduct Authority alleging that Lloyds Banking Group PLC excluded several victims of fraud at the bank from receiving compensation, The Independent reported.
* Bermuda-based insurer Hiscox Ltd named Bob Thaker CEO for the U.K., effective March 2019. Thaker replaces Steve Langan, who became the group's CEO for the U.S.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA
* The European Commission yesterday proposed a six-month equivalence extension for share-trading venues in Switzerland in a bid to avoid market disruptions and ensure businesses and markets can operate smoothly after Dec. 31.
* Qatar's interest in increasing its share in Deutsche Bank AG appears serious after Qatari investors reportedly contacted German financial watchdog BaFin to ask about the possible move and how an investment by the state-owned Qatar Investment Authority would be viewed, Handelsblatt reported.
* UBS Group AG's U.S.-based broker/dealer unit UBS Financial Services Inc. agreed to pay a combined $14.5 million fine to U.S. regulators over deficiencies in its anti-money laundering program and its violations of the Bank Secrecy Act that requires firms to report suspicious activities. FINRA also fined UBS Securities LLC over its failure to reasonably monitor penny stocks transactions.
* Switzerland-based Basler Kantonalbank will face a money laundering investigation around its dealings with Swiss investment firm ASE, Aargauer Zeitung reported.
* Allianz Group is seeking to purchase auto insurance intermediary Automotive Versicherungsservice GmbH, or AVS, through its Allianz Partners unit, Börsen-Zeitung reported.
* As part of its preparation towards a potential IPO of its U.K. closed book business ReAssure, Swiss Re AG has appointed Mark Hodges, currently CEO of energy group Centrica's consumer division, as the new CEO of ReAssure from March 1.
FRANCE AND BENELUX
* Denmark's Saxo Bank A/S agreed to acquire Dutch online brokerage BinckBank NV for a total consideration of €424 million. BinckBank accepted the offer because of increasing regulatory costs and the need to grow its business, the bank's CEO told Het Financieele Dagblad.
* Shares in French payments firm Ingenico Group SA closed sharply lower yesterday after it said it will not pursue discussions regarding a potential sale. French bank Natixis and transactional solutions provider Edenred had been interested in bidding for Ingenico but decided against making an offer, insiders told Reuters. Ingenico said it plans to focus on boosting performance and preparing a new midterm strategic plan.
* France-based insurance technology companies Prima Solutions SA and Effisoft SAS have merged.
* Belgian bank Banque Degroof Petercam SA has joined IMAP Inc., a global M&A partnership, as its exclusive corporate finance partner for M&A in Belgium and France, De Tijd reported.
* LiquidShare SA, a blockchain-based fintech backed by Euronext NV and Euroclear PLC that aims to reduce the cost of share trading in low-volume shares, has begun shadow operations in Paris, with the aim of officially launching in September 2019, Les Echos reported.
* French parliamentarians are set to approve this week laws to prevent so-called cum ex fraud, whereby investors evade tax on dividends, which has cost France between €1 billion and €3 billion in lost taxes, Les Echos reported. The new laws will impose taxes at source both for internal transfers of shares within banks and external transfers and require shares to be held for at least 45 days for this not to apply.
* French insurtech companies Prima Solutions and Effisoft have merged to form a company with 300 staff and annual sales of €50 million, Les Echos noted.
SPAIN AND PORTUGAL
* Spain's state-controlled Bankia SA will sell bad loans and repossessed property worth about €3.07 billion to two subsidiaries of U.S.-based fund Lone Star North America Acquisitions LP. Bankia will retain 20% of the capital in the real estate assets, with the rest being held by a Lone Star subsidiary. The Spanish bank will save €200 million in pretax costs over three years following the sale's completion.
* Spanish banking group Banco Santander SA and insurer Mapfre SA are in talks to sign a deal that would see Santander exclusively sell Mapfre's insurance products for cars and small and medium-sized business, Expansión reported.
ITALY AND GREECE
* Italian banking group UniCredit SpA and U.K.-based Caius Capital LLP have settled their dispute related to concerns raised by Caius Capital over UniCredit's treatment of convertible and subordinated hybrid equity-linked securities, or Cashes.
* Banca Popolare di Sondrio SCpA has given a mandate to Oliver Wyman and KPMG to advise it on a strategy of derisking for its €2.53 billion in gross nonperforming loans and €1.56 billion in unlikely-to-pay loans, Milano Finanza reported.
* Banca Carige SpA sold €964 million in gross nonperforming loans in a securitization deal to be backed by a state guarantee on the senior tranche, said Reuters.
* Danish pension fund Magistrenes Pensionskasse, or MP Pension, is excluding 14 countries from the list of those it will invest in, Berlingske Business reported. The countries, which include Saudi Arabia, all systematically violate human rights, the fund said.
* PJSC Asian-Pacific Bank has been put up for sale by the Russian central bank, with various investors showing interest, including PJSC Sovcombank and Expobank LLC Reuters reported. According to Kommersant, China-based Heihe Rural Commercial Bank, OOO Home Credit and Finance Bank and Czech lender J&T BANKA a.s. are also interested.
* Hungary's central bank said it imposed a 30-day restriction on the withdrawal of deposits of more than 7 million forints from NHB Növekedési Hitel Bank Zrt., citing a deterioration of the lender's liquidity, Reuters reported.
* Six investment funds expressed interest in investing into Polish businessman Leszek Czarnecki's lenders Getin Noble Bank SA and Idea Bank SA and could start due diligence immediately after the new year, Puls Biznesu reported. Getin and Idea earlier said that they decided to look for a financial investor that would recapitalize the two lenders or a joint bank that could be formed as the result of a potential merger between them.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: CBL shareholder opposes liquidation; Bank of Baroda to close overseas branches
Middle East & Africa: Diamond Bank confirms Access Bank merger deal; Moody's lifts Bahrain outlook
Latin America: Advent said to have closed deal with Prisma; Banco BMG mulls IPO postponement
North America: Malaysia sues Goldman Sachs units over 1MDB scandal; Citi to exit Chinese JV
NOW FEATURED ON S&P GLOBAL MARKET INTELLIGENCE
Unicaja, Liberbank tie-up would give competitive edge, boost bottom line: A merger would create Spain's sixth-largest bank, allowing more scale in a tough market, finance the transition to digital banking and open up debt markets.
Further market disruption likely as central banks return to pre-crisis mode, warns Bank for International Settlements: The Bank's quarterly review warned of further "bumps in the road" as central banks slim balance sheets and raise interest rates.
Financial markets, high private debt present risk for French financial system: Strong appetite for riskier debt and high levels of borrowing by non-financial companies are potential risks to the French financial system, the Bank of France said in a report.
Ben Meggeson, Ed Meza, Danielle Rossingh, Esben Svendsen, Beata Fojcik, Heather O'Brian, Brian McCulloch, Praxilla Trabattoni and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.
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This S&P Global Market Intelligence news article may contain information about credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings. Descriptions in this news article were not prepared by S&P Global Ratings.