* The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission approved China Minsheng Banking Corp. Ltd. to issue up to 50 billion yuan worth of convertible bonds. Proceeds from the issuance will be used to boost the bank's core Tier 1 capital.
* Chinese regulators gave the green light for Shanghai Equity Exchange to commence equity asset trade-in debt-for-equity swap deals, the bourse said in a statement.
* The board of directors of Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. approved a proposed issuance of up to 80 billion yuan of capital instruments, including 40 billion yuan of undated capital bonds in foreign currency in the offshore market to replenish the bank's additional Tier 1 capital and another 40 billion yuan worth of eligible Tier 2 capital instruments in yuan or foreign currencies in domestic and offshore markets.
* Chinese authorities will increase the capital of banks so that they could increase funding to small and midsize enterprises, Reuters reported, citing the financial stability committee of China's State Council.
* The CBIRC will strengthen the shareholding management of smaller banks and build up tools to restore non-Tier 1 capital ratios at banks facing a drought of cash, Reuters reported, citing Securities Times, which quoted Xiao Yuanqi, the regulator's spokesperson. The commission will also attempt to develop a multi-layer capital market by encouraging annuities and endowment insurance.
* The People's Bank of China decided to pay interest at an annual rate of 0.35% on trillions of yuan of money that payment firms are required to deposit into accounts that the central bank manages, Caixin reported, citing a source close to the matter. The move is an effort on the regulator's part to help payment firms maintain operations after transitioning from money they kept temporarily for clients.
* Japan's Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co. Ltd. agreed to form a business tie-up with Bank of East Asia Ltd., The Nikkei reported. The companies are looking to expand their collaboration through ventures outside Hong Kong.
* Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Co. and Daido Life Insurance Co. invested ¥5.5 billion and ¥2.4 billion, respectively, in Togo as part of efforts to promote environment, society and governance investment to support local economic development, The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun reported. The investment was made through structured credit in which the principal of the loans will be guaranteed by the African Trade Insurance Agency.
* The CEO of South Korea's Hanwha General Insurance Co. Ltd. is widely expected to resign after a shareholders' meeting in March, as the insurer's performance and profitability continue to decline, the Maeil Business Newspaper reported, citing industry sources.
* South Korea’s Financial Services Commission said it is looking to exclude special purpose companies and real estate firms from its list of SMEs eligible for loans from brokerages, Yonhap News Agency reported, citing FSC Chairman Eun Sung-soo.
* Standard Chartered Bank Korea Ltd. will boost ties with Toss, a financial technology platform operated by Viva Republica Co Ltd., for its internet-only bank in 2020, The Korea Times reported, citing CEO Park Jong-bok. Standard Chartered Bank Korea is taking part in the consortium behind Toss' internet-only bank for its complete operation.
* The Bank of Thailand released revised guidelines for commercial banks in the country to recalculate their prepayment fees for SMES as well as the default interest and annual charges for Thai consumers' debit and ATM cards, Post Today reported, citing BOT Governor Veerathai Santiprabhob. The new rules are effective immediately.
* A consortium led by AMTD Group Company Ltd. and including SP Group, Funding Societies Pte. Ltd. and China's Xiaomi Corp. confirmed that it has applied for a digital banking license in Singapore, The Business Times reported, citing a statement from the group. The consortium will focus on SMEs and entrepreneurs targeting Southeast Asia and Greater China.
* Kasikornbank PCL set a target of making 60 billion baht in online loans in 2020 and increasing its digital lending segment to 100 billion baht, The Nation reported, quoting Kattiya Indaravijaya, president of the bank.
* Indonesian small lender PT Amar Bank Indonesia will list its shares Jan. 9 on the Indonesia Stock Exchange, Bisnis Indonesia reported. The bank has offered 15.01% of its shares at 174 rupiah apiece.
* Atif Bajwa was appointed president of Bank of Punjab, Pakistan Today reported. Bajwa previously served as the president and CEO of various Pakistani banks.
* India-based Religare Finvest Ltd.'s lenders have agreed to a restructuring of its debt worth 58 billion rupees, which includes a 49% haircut on the debt, Bloomberg News reported, citing people aware of the matter.
* U.S.-based Warburg Pincus LLC and Creation Investments Capital Management LLC injected 5 billion rupees into New Delhi-based Fusion Microfinance Private Ltd., Mint reported. Fusion Microfinance will use the investment to further improve its Indian distribution network.
* Kotak Investment Advisors Ltd. dropped its plans to make a bid for troubled Altico Capital India Ltd., Mint reported, citing people aware of the matter. Kotak had received negative feedback from its creditors, the people said.
* The Reserve Bank of India is looking into various measures under which private banks with poor financial results can leave the regulator's prompt corrective action framework, including auctions of the banks, Business Standard reported, citing an executive at the central bank. The measures are part of the central bank's plan to create a separate regulatory framework for private banks.
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
* The Insurance Council of Australia said insurance losses from bushfires in the country have reached A$700 million. Since September 2019, insurers have received 8,985 claims from the states of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia, and this is expected to rise.
* Australian Prudential Regulation Authority Chairman Wayne Byres said the compliance function in the country's financial firms needs to be upgraded as a result of its onsite review of banks, The Australian Financial Review reported. The regulator is also updating the Cross prudential standard that oversees the risk management function at financial institutions and will begin testing tighter rules in 2020.
* Scottish Pacific's nonbinding proposal for CML Group Ltd. at 60 Australian cents per CML Group will likely face scrutiny from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, The Australian Financial Review reported, quoting Cameron McCullagh, executive director of Consolidated Operations Group Ltd. COG earlier reached a merger agreement with CML Group, but the latter's board opted to consider Scottish Pacific's offer.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Middle East & Africa: Absa Group names CEO; Plus500 expects lower FY'19 revenue
Europe: UBS revamps EMEA wealth unit, to cut 500 jobs; 2 German co-op banks in M&A talks
Latin America: Banco BV plans IPO; Mexico approves 2,700 branches for Banco del Bienestar
North America: Blucora to acquire HK Financial Services; Citigroup amps up hiring of coders
Global Insurance: Australia bushfire insurance losses surge; Neon headed for runoff; cat bonds
R Sio, Sally Wang, Sarun Saelee, Cathy Hwang, Emi White and Aditya Suharmoko contributed to this report.
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