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Anbang steps up units' asset transfers; Goldman Sachs Australia penalized

GREATER CHINA

* Canada-based Sun Life Financial Inc. is considering raising its stake in Chinese joint venture Sun Life Everbright Life Insurance Co. Ltd. to between 49% and 51% from the current 25%, the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong reported, citing Sun Life Financial CEO Dean Connor. The increased shareholding will depend on the willingness of Sun Life's local partners to sell, Connor said.

* Companies held by troubled Anbang Insurance Group Co. Ltd. reported stake transfers in their July 2 stock exchange filings, signaling a possible restructuring after the Chinese government nationalized the insurance group, China's Caixin reported. The entities were informed of the equity moves by the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission with no disclosed price or reason, according to several sources close to the matter.

* China Development Bank will commence the flotation of 35 billion yuan of bonds on China's interbank market and bond connect program with Hong Kong July 4, the South China Morning Post reported, citing a statement from the policy lender. The Hong Kong subsidiaries of Bank of China, Ping An Securities and Credit Agricole will coordinate the issuance of the bonds, with maturities ranging from one year to 10 years.

* China Zheshang Bank Co. Ltd. updated its planned issuance of 4.49 billion shares in China, saying that the shares will account for no more than 20% of the lender's total share capital after the issuance, the country's National Business Daily reported. The bank previously said the shares to be issued represent 25% of its total issued shares. The fund from the issuance will be used to replenish its core capital.

JAPAN AND KOREA

* Japan-based Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co. Ltd. lost its role as underwriter for the bond issuances of Toray Industries Inc., KDDI Corp. and Tokyo Gas Co. Ltd., amounting to about ¥150 billion, Tokyo's The Nikkei reported. The development comes as the brokerage faces allegations of price market manipulation in the Japanese government bond futures market. The Financial Services Agency has recommended a fine of ¥218.4 million on the company.

* Japan-based Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co. Ltd. is expanding its general insurance business in East Africa, The Nikkei reported. In addition to local partners in Uganda and Tanzania, the company formed a business tie-up with Kenya's ICEA Lion General Insurance Co. Ltd. and Mozambique-registered insurer International Commercial and Engineering Seguros.

* Japan's Daiwa Corporate Investment, a subsidiary of Daiwa Securities Group Inc., formed a new fund July 1 to support business partnerships and M&A, The Nikkei reported. The initial capital is ?7 billion, but the company expects that it will expand to ?10 billion by the end of 2018.

* The Financial Services Commission in South Korea unveiled a new set of guidelines for major conglomerates with financial units in a bid to prevent risk from the nonfinancial sector from spreading into the financial industry, the country's Pulse reported. Under the new guidelines, conglomerates are banned from operating banks and lenders, but are allowed to run insurance and other asset companies.

* Barclays PLC's investment bank is considering rebuilding operations in South Korea and South Africa, marking a break from the transatlantic retreat the company commenced in 2016, the Financial Times reported, citing two people familiar with the plans. Barclays had not yet started the process of applying for a new license in South Korea, sources familiar with the situation in the country said.

* South Korea-based KB Kookmin Bank said it has been approved by the Indonesian state regulator to claim preemptive rights of Indonesian lender PT Bank Bukopin Tbk on June 29, the Chosun Ilbo in South Korea reported. The move marks KB Kookmin Bank's re-entry into the Indonesian market in 10 years.

ASEAN

* A task force probing the scandal surrounding troubled state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd., or 1MDB, has frozen 408 bank accounts involving funds of about 1.1 billion ringgit, which involved about 900 transactions from March 2011 to September 2015, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing a statement from the task force. The accounts, linked to 81 individuals and 55 companies, are "believed to have links to the misappropriation and misuse of 1MDB funds."

* Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Bhd., an investment holding company, appointed Charon Wardini Mokhzani as group managing director, replacing Mohd Najib Abdullah, Berita Harian in Malaysia reported.

* Viet Nam Mobile Telecom Services Corp., also known as MobiFone, is looking to divest its more than 5.5 million shares in Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank, or TPBank, Viet Nam News reported. The minimum bid price will be set at not less than 29,510 dong per share, according to the report.

* Thailand-based Bank of Ayudhya PCL appointed Atsushi Murakami and Toru Matsuda as members of the board, effective July 1, the country's Manager Daily reported. The appointments already received approval from the Bank of Thailand.

* Indonesian lender PT Bank Muamalat Indonesia Tbk plans to list its shares in the local stock exchange in the next three to five years, said CEO Achmad K. Permana, as reported by Bisnis Indonesia. The lender is currently improving its performance by releasing bad assets.

* Indonesia-based PT Bank OCBC NISP Tbk issued bonds worth 1 trillion rupiah with interest rates ranging from 6.75% to 7.75%, Infobank reported. Proceeds from the offering will be used to boost the bank's lending.

SOUTH ASIA

* Indian nonbank lender Capital First Ltd. will snap up a 7.03% stake, or 3,125,000 shares, in nonbanking financial company Village Financial Services Ltd. for 150 million rupees. The transaction is expected to close within 15 days of the agreement.

* India-based HDFC Asset Management Co. Ltd., a joint venture between India's Housing Development Finance Corp. Ltd. and U.K.-based Standard Life Aberdeen PLC unit Standard Life Investments Ltd., will launch its proposed IPO July 11, three people aware of the development told Mint. The size of the offering, which will close July 13, is expected to be about 30 billion rupees, one of the sources said.

* IndiaFirst Life Insurance Co. Ltd., a joint venture between Bank of Baroda, Andhra Bank and U.K.-based Legal & General Group PLC, promoted Rushabh Gandhi to the position of deputy CEO, The Hindu Business Line reported. The promotion took effect July 1.

* Sri Lanka-based Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC named Sivakrishnarajah Renganathan its managing director and CEO, succeeding Jegatheesan Durairatnam, who is set to retire July 26. The lender also appointed Sanath Chandima Udayakumara Manatunge COO and an executive nonindependent director. Both appointments are effective July 27.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* New York-headquartered Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has taken steps to improve its controls and processes relating to bookbuilding after the Australian Securities and Investments Commission penalized Goldman Sachs Australia Pty Ltd. for failing to inform the market about dwindling interest in a block trade it conducted in 2015, Reuters reported, citing a company spokesperson. The corporate regulator earlier accepted a court enforceable undertaking from Goldman Sachs Australia, under which the bank will review its bookbuilding and make a community benefit payment of A$500,000.

* Australia-based Blue Sky Alternative Investments Ltd. confirmed that it received a notice from the country's corporate regulator on June 13, seeking clarity on whether the company complied with its obligations under the country's Corporations Act from Jan. 1, 2016 to June 12 of this year. Blue Sky said the letter was marked "treated as in confidence," with the regulator saying the notice should not be construed as an indication that a "contravention of the law" had happened.

* Macquarie Capital is eyeing a role in the proposed IPO of Australia-based consumer finance group Latitude Financial Services Ltd. as the syndicate of investment banks working on the listing is still being finalized, The Australian reported. Sources said Macquarie would be among the banks involved when the prospectus for the IPO is released between August and October. The publication earlier reported that the listing will occur around the end of September.

* Australia's royal commission, an inquiry into the country's scandal-ridden financial sector, heard that Rural Bank's aggressive push into farm loans resulted in "clearly systemic" problems in its lending practices and a surge in its nonperforming loans, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. However, Alexandra Gartmann, managing director of the Bendigo & Adelaide Bank Ltd. unit, denied the problems were as "systemic" as the company's own internal review from 2011 found.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Middle East & Africa: Bank Muscat names new CEO; Absa revamps retail bank's structure

Europe: Lloyd's CEO to leave; Nordea to buy Gjensidige Bank; DBRS upgrades Greece

Latin America: Mexico's AMLO wins elections; Suramericana bondholders OK restructuring

North America: SEC fines Morgan Stanley unit $3.6M, Cantor Fitzgerald $1.3M; Ky.-based CU fails

Global Insurance: Renewals muted in 'new market norm'; Irish insurer probes CEO; cat bond bonanza

Janna Estares, Sally Wang, Sarun Saelee, Cathy Hwang, Emi White and Aditya Suharmoko contributed to this report.

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