* The Eurogroup of finance ministers will meet today to consider and discuss the candidacies of Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos and Central Bank of Ireland Governor Philip Lane, who are vying to replace Vítor Constâncio as vice president of the ECB after his term ends May 31. The Economic and Financial Affairs Council, which consists of all economics and finance ministers from all EU member states, will formally adopt a recommendation to the European Council tomorrow.
* IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde told Le Figaro that "it is absolutely not the time for deregulation" of the financial system, and called for supervision to be updated to account for "new technologies, new products, new actors and new mechanisms in the fintech environment or even attempts to create virtual currencies."
* German Chancellor Angela Merkel said a Brexit deal between the U.K. and the EU should be balanced enough that Britain clearly diverges from the single market but maintains economic and political ties with the bloc, Reuters reported.
UK AND IRELAND
* Saga Plc named Patrick O'Sullivan chairman, effective May 1, replacing Andrew Goodsell. O'Sullivan will continue as chairman of Old Mutual Plc until the Anglo-South African firm's managed separation process has concluded.
* Lloyds Banking Group Plc was close to a £6 billion insurance merger of its Scottish Widows Group Ltd. unit with Standard Life Aberdeen Plc's pensions and assurance business, until talks broke down in mid-December 2017 due to a clash over the structure of the new operation, sources told The Sunday Times. Once negotiations for the tie-up fell apart, Lloyds CEO António Horta-Osório decided to cancel a £109 billion fund management contract with Standard Life Aberdeen, the sources added.
* U.K. Financial Conduct Authority CEO Andrew Bailey sent a so-called skilled persons' report into the alleged mistreatment of small business customers by Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc's now-defunct Global Restructuring Group to U.K. Treasury Select Committee Chair Nicky Morgan. Members of the committee will now meet to decide "whether, and if so, when, to publish the report," Morgan said.
* HSBC Holdings Plc, Barclays Plc, RBS and Lloyds are all expected to report hefty provisions in their full-year 2017 results this week, due to U.S. fines, mis-selling compensation and losses relating to the collapse of construction company Carillion, The Daily Telegraph reported.
* An EY survey of 55 asset and wealth management groups found that 51% of asset managers have already strengthened their existing European operations in preparations for Brexit, the Financial Times reported.
* U.K. peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle is expected to mandate Morgan Stanley in the coming weeks to spearhead its anticipated IPO in the second half that could value the company at £1.5 billion, sources told Sky News.
* Bank of Ireland Group Plc Chairman Archibald Kane has internally indicated intentions to stand down, with Deputy Chairman Patrick Kennedy tipped to succeed him, insiders told the Irish Independent.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA
* HSH Nordbank AG is poised to report full-year 2017 pretax profit of nearly €300 million, more than double the €121 million booked in 2016, insiders told Reuters. Meanwhile, roughly 600 to 700 of the bank's 2,000 staff are likely to lose their jobs as a result of the bank's long-delayed privatization, which must be completed by February-end.
* Allianz Group is considering ceasing from entering new insurance contracts for coal power plants as part of its move to exit environmentally harmful industries, ZDF reported.
* ING-DiBa AG acquired Berlin-based online lending platform Lendico Global Services GmbH in a first major takeover of a fintech firm by a major German bank, Finanz-Szene.de reported.
* Japan's SoftBank Group Corp. is in discussions with Swiss Re AG over potentially taking several seats on the reinsurer's board, insiders told the Financial Times. Separately, Swiss Re completed its 2017 share buyback program of up to CHF1.0 billion.
* The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority published guidelines on how it intends to apply legislation in handling enquiries from initial coin offering organizers.
* The regulator is separately investigating whether Walliser Kantonalbank violated rules by granting loans to pharmaceuticals company Alkopharma SA, which went bankrupt in 2012 after a scandal broke that it sold expired cancer drugs to patients and hospitals, Neue Zürcher Zeitung wrote.
* Swiss private banks Bank Pâris Bertrand Sturdza SA, Bordier & Cie and Reyl & Cie Holding SA entered an alliance to push the development of investment boutique Hermance Capital Partners, which focuses on private equity, private debt and private real estate.
FRANCE AND BENELUX
* Euronext NV reported full-year 2017 consolidated profit of €241.3 million, up 22.5% from €197.0 million a year earlier. EPS for the period was €3.45, compared to the year-ago €2.82.
* Crédit Agricole SA is planning to off-load about €6 billion of Italian nonperforming loans it bought from other entities a decade or more ago, insiders told Bloomberg News. Nonbinding offers are due by March-end as the French lender seeks to close the sale by June.
* France's finance ministry obtained approval to set up a judicial investigatory unit for fiscal fraud despite opposition from the interior ministry, which is in charge of the nation's police, Les Echos reported.
* Dutch financial services complaints tribunal Kifid fined BinckBank NV €500,000 for allowing an intermediary without an asset management licence for third parties to trade on its platform, Het Financieele Dagblad wrote. A group of investors handed over about €1.4 million to the intermediary in 2008 and ended up losing about €1.2 million.
SPAIN AND PORTUGAL
* Banco Santander SA has abolished the entire transition management team at Banco Popular Español SA, which was composed of 15 members, Expansión reported. Banco Popular made a €13.56 billion loss in 2017, according to Europa Press.
* Portugal will have to inject further capital into state-rescued Novo Banco SA due to large losses incurred by the lender in 2017 on the back of high loan impairments, Expresso reported.
ITALY AND GREECE
* Fitch Ratings upgraded Greece's long-term issuer default ratings to B from B-, with a positive outlook, reflecting an expected improvement in the country's general government debt sustainability.
* Italian investor Raffaele Mincione bought a 5.4% stake in Banca Carige SpA through Capital Investment Trust, making him Carige's third-largest shareholder, Milano Finanza reported.
* Cassa di Risparmio di Bolzano SpA is looking to expand in Friuli Venezia Giulia, Veneto and Trentino Alto Adige as well as Lombardy, exploiting the void left by Banca Popolare di Vicenza SpA and Veneto Banca SpA, which are now largely under Intesa Sanpaolo SpA, Affari & Finanza wrote.
* Credito Valtellinese SpA said its €700 million capital increase is not sufficient to fund all strategic actions in its 2018-2020 business plan, which foresees a capital strengthening totaling about €803 million, Reuters wrote.
* Cassa depositi e prestiti SpA CEO Fabio Gallia denied media reports that he was contacted to become the head of Anima Holding, according to Reuters.
* Bermuda-based Argo Group will take control of Ariscom Compagnia di Assicurazioni SpA out of state administration for €20 million, following approval of Italian industry regulator IVASS, The Insurance Insider reported.
* The Swedish central bank said the new IFRS 9 accounting standards can potentially improve financial stability in the long term "if implemented in a sound way" by the lenders.
* Nordea Bank AB (publ) revised the estimate of cost savings from shifting its headquarters to Finland from Sweden. The bank now expects the net present value of total savings to be in the range of about €900 million to €1.2 billion, compared to the previous estimate of between €1.1 billion and €1.3 billion.
* Swedish payment solutions provider Klarna, which is soon to receive a full banking license, is expected to lay off between 10 and 30 mid-level managers as part of a reorganization, DI Digital reported. Klarna's U.S. business is also struggling to meet its revenue goals.
* Scandinavian private equity group EQT is seeking to raise €10.75 billion from investors in a fundraising round later this month, insiders told the Financial Times.
* Latvia's anticorruption agency held central bank Governor Ilmars Rimševics for questioning over allegations of money laundering at ABLV Bank AS. Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola said Rimševics should temporarily step down from his post to protect Latvia's reputation, Reuters noted. The ECB, meanwhile, declared a temporary moratorium on debit operations at ABLV Bank, according to Bloomberg.
* Russian businessman and lawmaker Suleiman Kerimov will acquire a majority stake in Vozrozhdenie Bank from Dmitry and Aleksey Ananiev, the former owners of PAO Promsvyazbank, Reuters reported.
* B&N Bank's management board chairman, Evgeny Davydovich, stepped down from the post Feb. 16, Vedomosti reported.
* JSC VTB Bank will close almost all branches of its Ukrainian unit PJSC VTB Bank by the summer, with only one or two offices to remain open in Kiev, Delo.ua reported, citing VTB CEO Andrey Kostin.
* Deutsche Bank AG sold an aggregate of 1.2 million ordinary shares in Bank Zachodni WBK SA at 380 Polish zlotys per share, raising gross proceeds of about 456 million zlotys, Reuters reported.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: Fairfax India to buy Catholic Syrian Bank stake; AMP life unit sale at risk
Middle East & Africa: Israel sets rules for credit card firm buyers; Barclays Africa wins case
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Leo Magno, Arno Maierbrugger, Danielle Rossingh, Esben Svendsen, Beata Fojcik, Yael Schrage, Brian McCulloch, Sophie Davies and Helen Popper contributed to this report.
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