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KB Financial to cancel shares; China eases ownership rules for life insurers

GREATER CHINA

* Postal Savings Bank of China Co. Ltd. launched its wealth management arm, PSBC Wealth Management Co. in Beijing, Caixin reported. The wealth management arm has a registered capital of 8 billion yuan and offers wealth management products and advisory services.

* Further, Postal Savings Bank of China Co. Ltd. has completed its A share offering, which would begin trading on the Shanghai Stock Exchange on Dec. 10, the lender said in a Hong Kong bourse filing. The lender now has 86,978,562,200 shares after the offering, including an overallotment option.

* The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission has issued updated guidelines allowing foreign life insurance firms to hold stakes of up to 51% in their Chinese joint ventures, China Daily reported. The regulator has also discontinued rules that required overseas insurers to have business operations of at least 30 years as well as a representative office in the country for at least two years.

* The People's Bank of China injected 300 billion yuan into the market via its medium-term lending facility at an interest rate of 3.25%, Reuters reported.

JAPAN AND KOREA

* The Japanese Fair Trade Commission is looking into how banks set transfer fees on the country's interbank funds transfer system, Zengin, and how payment operators connect with it, The Nikkei reported. The regulator is looking into the possibility that the fees charged are too high or serve as a barrier to entry.

* The board of South Korea's KB Financial Group Inc. decided to liquidate its own shares worth 100 billion won, the Chosun Ilbo reported, citing the company. The date for the transaction has been set to Dec 12.

* The South Korean government seeks to levy taxes on virtual currency, as the country's Ministry of Economy and Finance confirmed it is pushing for the revised tax regulations reflecting such changes next year, The Korea Times reported, citing government sources.

* Registered bonds in South Korea held by foreign investors stood at a record low of 122.3 trillion won as of Nov. 30, down 124.77 trillion won from the prior-year period, The Korea Herald reported.

ASEAN

* The Bank of Thailand plans to launch a refinance program for credit card debtors who do have not defaulted on their payments, Krungthep Turakij reported. The refinancing plan, offering an interest rate between 7% and 12%, is aimed at easing their debt burden amid the current economic slowdown in a bid to prevent nonperforming loans. Such debtors are usually charged a credit card interest of between 18% and 28%.

* Indonesian state lender PT Bank Mandiri (Persero) Tbk appointed former finance minister M. Chatib Basri to be its deputy president commissioner, Bisnis Indonesia reported.

* Mid-sized lender PT Bank Mayapada Internasional Tbk aims for a loan growth of 10% in 2020 after it managed to boost its capital in 2019, Bisnis Indonesia reported, citing business director Andreas Wiryanto.

* PT Bank OCBC NISP Tbk forecast loan growth at 7.5% to 9% in 2020 as loan demand will likely remain slow, Kompas reported.

SOUTH ASIA

* Jairam Sridharan, the CFO and group executive for India-based Axis Bank Ltd., resigned from his post, the bank said in a release. Sridharan will continue to serve as the bank's CFO during a three-month notice period. The bank is conducting a search for his successor.

* Jefferies Financial Group Inc. is recruiting around a dozen people from CLSA Ltd.'s Indian business, including head of research Aashish Agarwal, Bloomberg News reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

* The Securities and Exchange Board of India gave Bank of Baroda, State Bank of India and Life Insurance Corp. of India until Dec. 2020 to dilute their respective 18.24% stakes in UTI Asset Management Co. Ltd. in compliance with regulatory guidelines, Mint reported. The report added that the three firms plan to trim their holdings in the asset manager via the latter's IPO.

* Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board are looking to enter India's private debt market through credit funds worth US$1 billion and US$500 million, respectively, Mint reported, citing people aware of the development. The pension funds are considering joint ventures with local firms as part of the credit funds.

* Bank of India said it plans to raise up to 100 billion rupees by issuing preference shares as well as Tier 1 and Tier 2 bonds in one or more tranches at an appropriate time. The lender also plans to issue up to 1.25 billion rupees of fresh equity shares.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* KKR & Co. Inc. promoted Sydney-based Gareth Woodbridge to managing director for its Asia-Pacific private equity division, The Australian Financial Review's Street Talk blog reported. The appointment will take effect Jan. 1, 2020.

* The Australian government appointed Challenger Investment Partners to help manage its A$2 billion business securitization fund by providing due diligence and credit analysis, The Australian reported. Backed by HSBC and Macquarie group, among others, the fund has A$540 million available to lending for underserved sectors.

* Moelis Australia Ltd. launched Moelis Australia Private Credit Fund targeting corporate finance, asset-backed finance, growth capital and acquisition finance, among other sectors, The Australian Financial Review's Street Talk blog reported. A priority offer period for the credit fund will last until Dec. 20, with a unit issue price of A$1. A general offer period will begin next year.

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

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