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US SEC fines ICBC unit; Thailand holds rate; Malaysia raids former PM's house

GREATER CHINA

* The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission fined Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. unit Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Financial Services LLC US$860,000 and one of its correspondents, Chardan Capital Markets LLC, US$1.0 million, for allegedly failing to report suspicious penny stock transactions which Chardan executed on behalf of its customers.

* Hong Kong-headquartered Yunfeng Financial Group Ltd. said its wholly owned subsidiary Youyu Global Ltd. purchased a 16.67% stake in fintech company Qutke Technology (Beijing) Co. Ltd. for 50 million yuan, and became Qutke's second-largest shareholder, Reuters reported.

* Standard Chartered Bank (Taiwan) Ltd. signed an agreement with peer-to-peer lending operator Robo Web Technology Co. to help expand its market to the general public from high-net-worth individuals, the Taipei Times reported, citing Standard Chartered retail banking head Kate Lin. Robo Web operations is an online P2P lending platform which matches borrowers with lenders with lower borrowing costs, the report said.

* The Chinese government will start easing regulations on foreign ownership in local insurance companies in the near future, anonymous sources told the Shanghai Securities News, as reported by China Daily. The government may raise foreign ownership in life insurance joint ventures to 51% from 50%, and may simplify procedures and lower requirements for setting up foreign-funded life insurers in the country.

JAPAN AND KOREA

* Kansai Urban Banking Corp. and Minato Bank Ltd., both units of Japan's Kansai Mirai Financial Group Inc., signed a partnership agreement with Philippines-based Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. to help Japanese companies expand into the Southeast Asian country, Tokyo's The Nikkei reported.

* Japanese credit card company JCB Co. Ltd. is teaming up with U.S.-based payment service provider Stripe Inc. to put JCB credit cards on Stripe's platform servicing retailers and e-commerce merchants in the U.S., The Nikkei reported.

* ORIX Bank Corp. will reenter the business of selling investment trusts to retail investors, including investment trusts developed by ORIX Corp. Europe NV, The Nikkei reported.

* Korea Development Bank and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. signed a reciprocal funding line agreement allowing them to tap a committed credit line worth US$200 million from each other, South Korea's Money Today reported.

* Nonlisted Seoul-based real estate developer Jinwon Engineering & Consulting Co. Ltd. is close to acquiring a controlling stake in Taurus Investment & Securities Co. Ltd., The Financial News reported.

ASEAN

* The Bank of Thailand maintained its policy rate at 1.50% but warned it was watching "pocket of risks" that might weaken the financial system.

* U.S.-based PayPal Holdings Inc. partnered with Indonesia-based venture capital firm Alpha JWC Ventures to support fintech startups in Southeast Asia, Bloomberg News reported. Alpha JWC plans to invest up to US$5 million in funding for for PayPal Incubator, which fund several fintech startups from Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand, the report added, citing Alpha JWC Managing Partner Will Ongkowidjaja.

* Manila-based East West Banking Corp. said its net income for the first quarter fell 22% year over year to 945.4 million pesos. The bank attributed the decline to lower contributions from its wholly owned subsidiary, EW Rural Bank, and its securities trading desks.

* HSBC Philippines launched biometrics for its digital banking platform after obtaining approval from the country's central bank, The Philippine Star reported, citing country President and CEO Jose Arnulfo Veloso. The HSBCnet Mobile platform will allow clients to access their corporate bank accounts via Touch ID and Face ID on their iPhones.

* Moody's extended the review period for a possible upgrade on four Singapore banks' — DBS Bank Ltd., DBS Group Holdings Ltd., Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. Ltd. and United Overseas Bank Ltd. — Tier 2 point of nonviability securities. The rating review was initiated November 2017, on the assumption that the securities will represent a lower credit risk to the banks once the Monetary Authority of Singapore introduces an enhanced bank resolution regime. The regulator has yet to introduce the regime.

* Police raided the home of former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak as part of an investigation into a US$3.2 billion corruption scandal involving government investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd., or 1MDB, according to The Guardian. Meanwhile, the government plans to work with authorities in Switzerland, the U.S., Singapore and other jurisdictions to try and recover the funds, Bloomberg News reported.

SOUTH ASIA

* Indian private lender Yes Bank Ltd. plans to raise US$1 billion through the issuance of shares via a public issue, preferential issue or issuance of American depository receipts and global depository receipts, Press Trust of India reported, citing regulatory filing on stock exchanges. The bank also plans to raise up to 300 billion rupees through the issuance of debt securities in local or foreign currency.

* India-based Punjab & Sind Bank posted a net loss of 5.25 billion rupees for the fourth quarter ended March 31, compared to a profit of 83.3 million rupees in the prior-year period. The bank posted a net loss of 7.44 billion rupees for the full year ended March 31, compared to a profit of 2.01 billion rupees in the prior-year period.

* India-based Geojit Financial Services Ltd's net profit for the fourth quarter ended March 31 increased to 192.8 million rupees from 152.9 million rupees. The company posted a net profit of 732.4 million rupees for the full year ended March 31, up from 560.2 million rupees in the prior-year period.

* Kuwait-based Noor Financial Investment Co. said a foreign financial company is interested in buying part of its 49.1% stake in Pakistan's Meezan Bank Ltd., Reuters reported. The foreign company, which was not named, is looking to acquire a 9.59% stake, which could be worth US$330 million based on Meezan Bank's capitalization.

* Sri Lanka Insurance Corp. Ltd. appointed Chandana Aluthgama as CEO, effective May 3, the country's Daily Mirror reported.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* AMP Ltd. is facing another class action lawsuit from Brisbane-based Shine Lawyers after four other firms — Slater and Gordon, Maurice Blackburn, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan and Phi Finney McDonald — decided to pursue class actions against AMP on behalf of its shareholders, The Australian reported. The lawsuits come on the heels of the banking royal commission in Australia which heard of a series of financial misconducts at AMP.

* Fintech Australia appointed Brad Kitschke as CEO, Business Insider Australia reported. Kitschke replaces inaugural Fintech Australia CEO Danielle Szetho, who stepped down in March. Sarah Worboys has since been acting as interim CEO of the industry group.

* National Australia Bank Ltd. is expected to open bids for investment banks to pitch for a role in the planned sale of its MLC business, The Australian reported. The bank said earlier in May that it plans to exit its advice, platform and superannuation and asset management businesses, which are operating under MLC and other brands, by the end of the 2019 calendar year. The MLC business is expected to be worth between A$3 billion and A$4 billion.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Middle East & Africa: US sanctions Iran central bank head; Abraaj moves to reassure creditors

Europe: Ageas, BayernLB post Q1 results; CYBG says loss won't affect Virgin Money plans

Latin America: Banxico director quits after cyberattack; Bancolombia's Q1 income slides

North America: JPMorgan's Dimon to stay for 5 more years; Circle to launch dollar-based token

North America Insurance: Oregon discloses proposed '19 ACA rates; PE-backed MGA Orchid exploring sale

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

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