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Italy passes decree to help bolster Carige; investors sue Nordbank for €1.4B

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Italy passes decree to help bolster Carige; investors sue Nordbank for €1.4B

* Jim Yong Kim will step down as president of the World Bank Group on Feb. 1 after more than six years in the role. Kim was not due to leave until 2022, BBC News noted. World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva will take over as interim president, effective Feb. 1.

* EU ambassadors yesterday endorsed the European Council's package of measures outlining a new regulatory framework for investment firms. Should the new rules be approved by the European Parliament, investment firms that intend to operate in the EU will be required to set up branches inside the bloc, Reuters noted.

* Increasing uncertainty over the U.K.'s future relationship with the EU is driving financial services firms to move roughly £800 billion of assets from Britain to Europe ahead of Brexit, according to Ernst & Young.

UK AND IRELAND

* The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority said the window in which European Economic Area-based financial firms can apply for a temporary permission regime that will allow them to continue operating in the U.K. while they seek full authorization from the regulator is now open.

* Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC acquired a 25% stake in student-focused financial technology startup Loot for £2 million, the Financial Times wrote. RBS reportedly made the investment on top of a previous £3 million it invested in Loot in 2018.

* Edward Bramson, an activist investor with a more than 5% stake in Barclays PLC, will seek shareholder approval for changes at the British lender's board after he was denied a seat at the board in 2018, Bloomberg News reported.

* The British Parliament's work and pensions select committee will investigate financial advisers' use of so-called contingent charging for defined benefit pension transfers, the Financial Times reported.

* U.K.-based Pool Reinsurance Co. Ltd. will no longer offer reinsurance coverage to members for the contingency cover against acts of terrorism that they provide to their insureds after the first quarter, saying there is sufficient capacity within the commercial insurance and reinsurance markets to cover contingency losses from terrorist activities.

* U.S.-based Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. agreed to acquire U.K.-based insurance broker Stackhouse Poland Group Ltd. from Synova Capital.

* Compre Holdings Ltd., a U.K.-based legacy acquisition and management company for discontinued nonlife insurance and reinsurance business, appointed Simon Hawkins CFO. Hawkins replaces Paul Matson, who left the company at the end of 2018.

* U.K. asset manager Kingswood Holdings Ltd. said Patrick Goulding has joined its board as group finance director.

* U.K. investment firm APQ Global Ltd. named Wesley Davis finance director, replacing Richard Bray, who will step down from the company's board.

* Inflexion Pvt. Equity Partners LLP made a minority investment in Granite Underwriting, a U.K.-based specialist motor insurance business.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* A group of 18 bondholders is seeking €1.4 billion in damages from HSH Nordbank AG, saying the German lender "improperly" reduced the book value of securities dating back to between 2002 and 2005, the Financial Times reported.

* Credit Suisse Group AG and the New York state settled in the week of Dec. 31, 2018, a case relating to the bank's alleged misselling of residential mortgage-backed securities in 2006 and 2007, Reuters reported. The bank, which did not disclose financial details of the settlement, is reportedly paying much less than the $11 billion the New York State Attorney General's office had originally sought when it filed the complaint in November 2012, with one source putting the figure in the low, two-digit millions of dollars.

* Munich Re Co.'s supervisory board has appointed Nicholas Gartside chief investment officer, effective March 18.

* The merger of Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe unit BS PAYONE with assets of Ingenico Group SA's retail division in Germany, Austria and Switzerland has been completed, following approval of German competition regulator Bundeskartellamt and the Financial Supervisory Authority. The merged entity is called Ingenico Payone Holding GmbH.

* The trial of a former employee of UBS Group AG charged with stealing client data and allegedly selling it to German tax officials has been rescheduled for today after the person did not show up in court yesterday, Bloomberg News wrote.

FRANCE AND BENELUX

* Some members of the Belgian government remain skeptical on the April timeline provided by Deputy Prime Minister Kris Peeters for Belfius Banque's IPO, L'Echo wrote.

SPAIN AND PORTUGAL

* Unicaja Banco SA and Liberbank SA are facing a key month to determine the percentage of stake each of them will take in a new group resulting from their merger, Expansión wrote. Negotiations are to restart this month and the transaction is still expected to close in the first half.

* Portuguese savings bank Banco Montepio — formerly called Caixa Económica Montepio Geral SA — should by 2022 no longer require the €498 million to cover credit impairments that was granted by the mutual association that controls the bank, Jornal de Negócios reported. António Tomás Correia, president of the mutual and former CEO of the bank, said Banco Montepio should complete the cleaning of its balance sheet within three years.

ITALY AND GREECE

* The Italian government approved a decree that allows Banca Carige SpA to have a State guarantee on the next bond issues and discretionary funding from the Bank of Italy, all dailies including MF reported, noting that upon specific request by the bank, the state could intervene with a precautionary capital increase aimed at preserving capital ratios.

* Italian political party Five Star Movement is opposed to its coalition partner's intention of using taxpayers' funds to bail out Banca Carige, Bloomberg News reported.

* Meanwhile, a share issue by struggling Italian lender Banca Carige might not be necessary if it immediately finds a merger partner or if the bank's special administrators manage to restructure it more efficiently, Reuters reported, citing a statement by Raffaele Lener, one of Carige's administrators, to La Repubblica's Affari & Finanza.

* Banca IFIS SpA finalized the acquisition of Italian debt services provider FBS SpA.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* The merger of payment services firms Nets A/S and Concardis GmbH has been completed.

* Swedish online bank Ikano Bank AB (publ) named Henrik Eklund acting CEO, Dagens Industri wrote. Eklund, who has served as Ikano's COO since May 2018, replaces Håkan Nyberg, who was dismissed by Ikano's board in September 2018.

EASTERN EUROPE

* The Turkish Banking Association has agreed to restructure the debts of Turkey's top football clubs, which have accumulated more than 10 billion lira in loans, Reuters reported.

* Polish lender Idea Bank SA, one of main distributors of bonds issued by financially troubled collector GetBack SA, plans to buy back the bonds from around 120 of its clients at par value, Rzeczpospolita reported.

* The Polish parliament will resume legislative work on the presidential proposal offering financial relief for the holders of Swiss franc-denominated mortgages, Rzeczpospolita said, citing Tadeusz Cymański, the head of the parliamentary committee on the matter. The presidential proposal expands the already existing borrowers support fund and introduces a special financial contribution from banks to finance the conversion of foreign-currency mortgages into Polish zlotys.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: Bank of Communications gets OK on wealth unit; 2 Philippines banks to merge

Middle East & Africa: UAE banks face pressure to merge; Israel holds rate; Angola to stress test banks

Latin America: Brazil scraps financial tax hike; FID Peru completes La Positiva stake purchase

North America: Malaysian court denies bail for ex-Goldman banker; 2 Wisconsin banks merging

Global Insurance: Gallagher buying UK broker; insurers sue PG&E; Rothesay eyes Swiss Re's Reassure

NOW FEATURED ON S&P GLOBAL MARKET INTELLIGENCE

Scope: NordLB needs to find new investors to offload toxic shipping loans: Time is running out for the German state-owned lender to find new investors as its already low capital reserves will be nearly depleted after two planned sales of toxic shipping loans, Scope Ratings said. A windup cannot be ruled out if a sale fails.

Rothesay interest could grant Swiss Re full exit from UK closed life unit: But one analyst questions whether Swiss Re would be happy to sell all of its stake in ReAssure at the reported valuation instead of pushing ahead with the planned initial public offering.

Sheryl Obejera, Ed Meza, Danielle Rossingh, Gerard O'Dwyer, Beata Fojcik, Yael Schrage, Stephanie Salti, Sophie Davies and Helen Popper 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.