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Singapore charges former private banker in 1MDB case; OCBC reports fall in Q1 profit

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Singapore charges former private banker in 1MDB case; OCBC reports fall in Q1 profit

Editor's note: This feature willnot be published May 2, 2016. The next article will be published May 3, 2016.

* Singaporecharged a former wealth manager at Swiss private bank BSI with receiving illegitimatefunds and obstructing justice in a money laundering case related to Malaysian investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd., or 1MDB, Reuters reported.Another former BSI employee is facing a criminal investigation. Meanwhile, Bank Negara Malaysia penalized1MDB for failing to fully comply withfinancial services law, Malaysia's The Starreported.

* posted a 14% year-over-year drop in net profit for the first quarter. The bank saida fall in insurance income and an increase in allowances dragged down earnings.

* Taiwan'sE.SUN Commercial Bank Ltd.will open a branch in Australia to target institutional clients, The Australian reported.Commonwealth Bank of Australia'sglobal asset management unit has a minority stake in the lender.

* TheIndian government approved a memorandum of understanding to improve cooperationbetween the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India and the InsuranceAuthority of the United Arab Emirates, Indo-Asian News Service reported.

* unit WillisCapital Markets & Advisory appointed Vincent Lien as managing director in HongKong, Artemis reported.

GREATER CHINA

* 's nonperformingloan ratio rose 11 basis points to 1.57% at the end of March from the end of 2015,China Business News reported. The bankwrote off a total of 80 billion yuan of nonperforming asset over the past five years.

* China'sState Administration of Foreign Exchange said 720 million yuan of Hong Kong fundswere sold in China as of the end of March under the Mutual Recognition of Fundsprogram, while 44.57 million yuan of Chinese funds were sold in Hong Kong underthe scheme during the same period, Caixinreported.

* China'sMinistry of Public Security said there were 6,000 cases of suspected illegal fundraisingactivity nationwide in 2015, involving nearly 250 billion yuan and more than 1.5million people, Caixin reported.

* , PingAn Life Insurance Co. Ltd. and Anbang Life Insurance Co. Ltd. became the top threelife insurers in China in terms of premium income in the first quarter, Caixin reported. The riseof Anbang Life was mainly thanks to rapid growth in sales of investment-style products.

* Bankbranch closures are on the rise in Taiwan, while applications to open new outletsare expected to further decline, as banks around the world continue to move theirfinancial services online, the Taipei Timesreported,citing Financial Supervisory Commission data. Bank branch closures totaled 23 in2015, up from 11 in 2014 and the most in the past five years. Among them, closed11, HSBC Bank (Taiwan) Ltd. closed four and StandardChartered Bank (Taiwan) Ltd. closed six.

JAPAN AND KOREA

* will raise wagesfor 14,300 employees at its three bank units for a second consecutive year, Tokyo'sThe Nikkei reported.

* will convert allof its clerical employees, totaling about 1,000, to career-track staff as part ofefforts to engage female workers, The Nikkeireported.

* willstop selling single-premium annuities in response to negative interest rates, The Nikkei reported.

* and the two otherResona banks signed a business partnership with Vietnam's Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Joint Stock Bank, The Nikkei reported.

* TheSouth Korean government decided to keep relaxed debt-to-income and loan-to-valueratio rules in place for one more year until July 2017 to shore up the housing market,The Chosun Ilbo reported.

* is in talkswith its parent company, Shinhan FinancialGroup Co. Ltd., to increase its capital to more than 3 trillion wonand apply for an investment bank license, Yonhap News Agency reported.

ASEAN

* IndonesianFinance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro said the Indonesian government expects thecountry's economy to grow 5.5% to 5.9%, with inflation in a range of 3% to 5%, in2017, Bisnis Indonesia reported.

* Indonesia'sFinancial Services Authority plans to ease rules for the calculation of core capitalallocation to support banks in opening branches, Kompas reported.

* Thailand'sMinistry of Finance lowered its projection for the country's 2016 economic growthto 3.3% from 3.7%, Thailand's Post Todayreported. The economyexpanded 2.8% in 2015.

* Bankof Thailand Governor Veerathai Santiprabhob said, however, that the Thai economywill continue to recover in the second half and that the country's interest ratepolicy does not have to follow a global trend, Thailand's Manager Daily reported.

* Thailandbecame the first ASEAN country to create an agency to offer professional help forinsurance policyholders in settling disputes with the help of professionals, Thailand'sDaily News reported.

* President ApisitAnantanatarat said competition in the industry in the first quarter was fierce ascompanies cut premiums, Post Today reported. The companyhad expected its rivals to lower premiums by 20%, but actual price reductions rangedfrom 30% to 40%.

* AIAThailand agents, dressed in black, staged a rally to protest changes made by CEOSaloon Tham, Post Today reported. They aredemanding the resignation of the CEO.

* Centralbank data shows the aggregate equity of Vietnamese lenders increased 2.3 trilliondong to 580.3 trillion dong in January from the end of 2015, Viet Nam News reported,citing The Banking Times.

SOUTH ASIA

* AnIndian parliamentary panel comprising ruling and opposition party members approveda bill to overhaul the country's bankruptcy regulations, Bloomberg News reported.The legislation, which may be passed as early as May 13, will allow the seizureof overseas assets of defaulting companies and individuals.

* TheReserve Bank of Indiasaid banks are not required to report the status of compliance with recommendationsto prevent fraud and malpractice, the Press Trust of India reported.

* India'sMinistry of External Affairs is seeking the extradition of Vijay Mallya from theU.K. after revoking his diplomatic passport, Indo-Asian News Service reported,citing a ministry spokesperson. Mallya, former head of now the defunct KingfisherAirlines, has ignored a summons to a probe into money laundering.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* is expectingthe country's central bank to cut rates next week after inflation data came in weakerthan expected, The Sydney Morning Heraldreported.Headline prices in Australia fell for the first time since 2008 in the first quarter,while underlying inflation at 1.55% is well below the Reserve Bank of Australia'starget range.

* is seekingto attract more deposits as wholesale funding costs rise, The Australian Financial Review's Street Talk blog reported.The company this week sold A$150 million of Tier 2 notes, but with margins underpressure, customers deposits are becoming more important as a funding source forAustralian banks.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

* Thesupervisory board of DZ Bank AGapproved a merger agreementwith WGZ Bank to forma joint cooperative central institution.

* Greece'sHellenic Financial Stability Fund selectedconsulting firm Spencer Stuart to review the boards and committees of the country'ssystemically important banks.

* and Cash America International Inc.agreed to combine in atax-free, all-stock transaction. The pro forma market value of equity of the transactionis valued at approximately US$2.4 billion, based on current outstanding shares andthe April 27 closing prices of shares in the companies.

* -ownedPacific Asset Advisors LLC agreedto acquire Boston-based boutique investment firm Cadence Capital Management LLC.

* TheU.K. Competition and Markets Authority warned Intercontinental Exchange Inc. that its of London-based energy tradingsoftware provider Trayport Ltd. would face an in-depth investigation unless ICEis able to address competition concerns.

Sally Wang, Jonathan Cheah, JaekwonLim and Santibhap Ussavasodhi contributed to this report.

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