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China bans 5 insurers from funding parents; AMP Capital to revamp equities biz

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China bans 5 insurers from funding parents; AMP Capital to revamp equities biz

GREATER CHINA

* The China Insurance Regulatory Commission barred five insurers — Bohai Life Insurance Co. Ltd., Zhujiang Life Insurance Ltd., Shanghai Life Insurance Co. Ltd., Sunshine Life Insurance Corp. Ltd. and June Life Insurance Co. Ltd. — from providing "financial aid in any form" to their parents, in line with the country's crackdown on large enterprises' overseas buying spree, the South China Morning Post reported, citing a statement from the regulator. Bohai Life will be prohibited from making transactions with its parent, Chinese conglomerate HNA Group Co. Ltd., for six months and will be monitored by the regulator for another three.

* The Chinese insurance regulator also banned Pearl River Life Insurance Co. Ltd. from borrowing or receiving financial assistance from its directly or indirectly related companies for six months from Oct. 11, Reuters reported, citing a notice on the CIRC's website. The regulator conducted a spot review of Pearl River Life from Feb. 23 to April 24 and found that the latter needed to improve its internal controls.

* The Chinese Communist Party appointed officials to lead their respective anti-corruption agencies at the country's banking and insurance regulators, known as the Party Disciplinary Commission, Reuters reported, citing an official online statement. Lin Guoyao was appointed to head the agency at the China Insurance Regulatory Commission, while Li Xinran will lead the counterpart at the China Banking Regulatory Commission.

* Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. of China Ltd. bought 117,938,000 Hong Kong-listed shares in Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. at an average price per share of HK$6.3286 on Oct. 9, according to a bourse disclosure. This brings the insurer's stake in the bank to 6.07% from 5.93%.

JAPAN AND KOREA

* Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc., Mizuho Financial Group Inc. and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. were named three of the nine systemically important banks projected "to generate below-sustainable returns in 2019," according to the IMF's October report on global financial stability. The international agency attributes the miss to excessive operating costs, low operating efficiency and highly competitive home markets.

* Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group is looking to reorganize its business structure in fiscal 2018 with plans to generate half its income from international operations, Tokyo's The Nikkei reported.

* Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. CEO Kanetsugu Mike told The Mainichi Shimbun that the bank would pursue the automation of about 30% of its operations, producing work equivalent to that of 9,500 employees.

* Leading Investment & Securities Co. Ltd. reduced its stake in BooKooK Securities Co. Ltd. to 5.86% from 15.44% by selling 993,820 shares, Yonhap News Agency reported. CAPE Investment & Securities Co. Ltd. absorbed much of the stake sold, increasing its stake to 9.64%.

ASEAN

* PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia (Persero) Tbk said it is on track to disburse microloans worth 71 trillion rupiah to small businesses, Bisnis Indonesia reported.

* The Indonesian Life Insurance Association said the combined premium income of life insurers in the country stood at 88.66 trillion rupiah for the second quarter, up 18.8% from the year-ago period, Bisnis Indonesia reported.

* Malaysia-based RHB Bank Bhd. unit RHB Investment Bank Bhd. issued 200 million ringgit of subordinated notes under its multicurrency medium-term note program, according to a bourse filing. The 10-year notes bear a fixed annual coupon rate of 4.90% and are noncallable for the first five years.

* Twenty-two out of the 23 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News expect the Monetary Authority of Singapore to maintain its exchange rate-based monetary policy, the news agency reported. However, the central bank may soon tighten its policy as the country's economy continues to strengthen.

SOUTH ASIA

* The IPO of General Insurance Corp. of India, priced at between 855 and 912 rupees per share, was subscribed 80% on the first day of bidding Oct. 11, Mint reported. Life Insurance Corp. of India placed a bid of between 70 billion and 80 billion rupees in the general insurer's public offering, the publication separately reported, citing "two people aware of the development."

* India's Canara Bank is looking to raise about US$300 million under its US$2 billion medium-term note program, following its fundraising worth US$400 million in August, Business Standard reported, citing unnamed banking sources. The size and pricing for the issue have yet to be finalized and would depend on market response, the report said.

* Housing Development Finance Corp. Ltd. will raise 25 billion Indian rupees through an issuance of secured redeemable nonconvertible debentures on a private placement basis, according to a bourse filing. The debentures were priced with a coupon of 7.40% per year and have a tenor of three years and one month.

* Central Bank of Sri Lanka Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said the bank would develop a program to help the country's war-affected communities tackle the increasing pressure of household debt, The Hindu reported.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* AMP Capital Investors Ltd., a unit of insurer AMP Ltd., confirmed it is overhauling its Australian equities business, with plans to move to a model where its fund managers operate in three focused teams, namely equity income, small caps and systematic teams. The subsidiary added it would no longer offer "benchmark-aware" products.

* Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. CEO Shayne Elliott said the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre told the lender that it found "no evidence of noncompliance" with its ATM network, while Westpac Banking Corp. CEO Brian Hartzer said the agency had "in writing" cleared Westpac of any noncompliance with anti-money laundering laws, The Australian reported.

* Westpac Banking CEO Brian Hartzer also said the Reserve Bank of Australia is more concerned about household budgets in case of an interest rate hike than it is about a possible credit crunch in the country's banking system, The Australian reported. This follows the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority's order to banks to limit interest-only lending to 30% of all fresh loans.

* National Australia Bank Ltd. has apologized following an online banking outage Oct. 11, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. The bank refused to disclose the number of customers affected by the outage, the publication noted. A bank spokeswoman said the issue has been resolved and that services are operating normally.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Middle East & Africa: Shakeup in Kenyan election re-run; Ethiopian central bank hikes rate

Europe: Capital rules compromise; Santander ups ROE target; Italy bad loans decrease

Latin America: Argentina holds benchmark rate; Brazil justifies bank bail-out bill

North America: JPMorgan to launch European ETFs; Blackrock's Q3 revenue up 14% YOY

North America Insurance: Bermuda insurers may fund 25% of hurricane loss; Oregon, Zoom Health settle suit

R Sio, Sally Wang, Jonathan Cheah, Jaekwon Lim and Santibhap Ussavasodhi contributed to this report.

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