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RBC in Panama Papers spotlight; Chicago Fed head estimates 2 more hikes in 2016

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RBC in Panama Papers spotlight; Chicago Fed head estimates 2 more hikes in 2016

The top 10 banksnamed in the Panama Papers are European,but a hack on a different law firm — one with more U.S. penetration — could yielddifferent results. , meanwhile,is already on the defensive after its name surfaced in connection with 378shell companies, The Toronto Starreports. Vice News quotes the bank as saying: "There are a number of legitimatereasons to set up a holding company. … We have an extensive duediligence process to ensure we understand who the client is and what their intentionsare, and will not proceed with a transaction until we do."

For anyone stillconfused as to the impact of the discovery, a Redditor explains the issue: "Whenyou get a quarter, you put it in the piggy bank. … Your mom knows this, and shechecks on it every once in a while, so she knows when you put more money in or spendit. Now one day, you might decide 'I don't want mom to look at my money.' So yougo over to Johnny's house with an extra piggy bank that you're going to keep inhis room. … Now all the kids in the neighborhood think this is a good idea, andeveryone goes to Johnny's house with extra piggy banks. … Now in real life, manyvery important people were just caught hiding their piggy banks at Johnny's housein Panama. Today, their moms all found out. Pretty soon, we'll know more about whichof these important people were doing it for bad reasons and which were doing itfor good reasons. But almost everyone is in trouble regardless, because it'sagainst the rules to keep secrets no matter what."

In domestic news,Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said he expects twomore rate hikes to be appropriate in 2016.

On the regulatory front is an update on 's $109 million penalty for allegedly referring clients to mortgageinsurers in exchange for kickbacks. Last year, PHH objected to being made to coughback up the reinsurance premiums by the CFPB — an agency it says might be in violationof the rule on separation of powers. An appealscourt granted a stay against the penalty, and now the judges are takingit further, according to American Banker— telling lawyers to be ready for questions about the constitutionality of the CFPB'ssingle-headstructure.

And a Financial Times op-ed piece comments: "Inso-called 'Chinese water torture,' drops of water fall slowly on the forehead untilinsanity takes hold. Bankers have a modern name for it: compliance."

Speaking of banks, JPMorgan Chase & Co. is cappingATM withdrawals for noncustomers, after it discovered individuals in Russiaand Ukraine were taking out up to $20,000 per transaction, say sources for The Wall Street Journal.

In India, is among a number ofinstitutions looking to partnerwith India Post's payments bank arm, according to The Economic Times.

Closer to home,DNB Financial Corp. ($748.8million) is buying fellow PennsylvanianEast River Bank ($310.7million) for $49.0 million in cash and stock.

In , WestfieldFinancial Inc. ($1.34 billion) is acquiring Chicopee Bancorp Inc. ($678.6 million) in a $110 millionstock deal.

And Georgia-basedUnited Community Banks Inc.($9.63 billion) will pay $2.2 millionin cash for South Carolina-based TidelandsBancshares Inc. ($466.2 million). The target had earlier expressed doubtit could continue as a going concern.

In the broker/dealer scene, Sky News reports , and sofar are funding 'splan to outbid Deutsche Börse AGfor London Stock Exchange Group Plc.Bloomberg Business had earlierreported ICE was working with Morgan Stanley and Moelis & Co.

Unable to Bill Gross' suit, has filed its response, the FT reports.Arguing that Gross shouldn't be able to claim the $200 million in bonuses and compensationhe says he's owed, the asset managerwrote: "In single-minded pursuit of [protecting his image], he undertook adisruptiveand unacceptable course of conduct that included breaking commitments to abideby management decisions, trying to sabotage the careers of the former CEO and othershe suspected of disloyalty, and treating his colleagues abusively." Furthermore,"he had no employment agreement, and he acknowledged that leaving PIMCO beforethe end of the third quarter of 2014 would render him ineligiblefor the profit sharing payments," Bloomberg News quotes. When Gross finallyresigned, it was "with nonotice or transition, disregarding the potential impact on the individual andinstitutional clients whose assets he was responsible for managing. … Longtime colleaguesfirst learned of [his] departure from a press release issued by his new employer,Janus Capital Group Inc."To all that, Gross' lawyer countered: "Notice they didn't have the chutzpahto badmouthBill's performance," the FT reports.

BernardMadoff may be serving his 150 years behind bars, but a judge just ruled he canstill be questioned by his former customers' lawyers. The questions are limited,however, to the meaning of "profit withdrawals" in his records, as theplaintiffs try to strengthen their case that trustee Irving Picard undervalued theirclaims, Reuters reports.

And 14 asset managers,including PIMCO, BlackRock Inc.,Pioneer Investment Management Inc.and TwentyFour Asset Management LLP,are suingPortugal's central bank over losses sustained by the transfer of certain senior Novo Banco SA bonds to its bad bank, the FT reports.

In other parts of the world

ASEAN financeofficials agreed to recognize two qualified ASEAN banks in the next three years,TheNikkei reports. The timeframe also calls for 10 member countries sharingbond market disclosures and a framework for retail investors to buy government bondsby 2025.

The day ahead

Early morningfutures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the HangSeng was up 1.57% to 20,177.00, and the Nikkei 225 fell 2.42% to 15,732.82.

In Europe as ofmidday, the FTSE 100 dropped 1.35% to 6,081.33, and the Euronext 100 was down 2.12%to 838.68.

On the macro front

The internationaltrade report, Redbook, PMI services index and the ISM non-manufacturing index aredue out today.

The Daily Dose is updated as of 7:30 a.m. ET. Some external links mayrequire a subscription.