* China'sHuatai Securities Co. Ltd.looks to acquire U.S.-based asset management software maker AssetMark Inc. for asmuch as US$800 million, Reuters reported,citing people familiar with the matter.
* Japan'sMitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc.is actively pursuing overseas acquisition opportunities in the fund administrationbusiness, Reuters reported,citing Mikio Ikegaya, president of MitsubishiUFJ Trust & Banking Corp. The executive, however, did not give specificdetails on the potential acquisitions.
* will a regional office for SouthAsia in New Delhi by the end of 2016, India's The Economic Times reported,citing Werner Hoyer, the bank's president.
* Netherlands-basedHome Credit BV said itappointed Annica Witschardas country CEO for the Philippines.
* Theratio of bad loans at Chinese banks may grow threefold in the next two years dueto a slowing economy, the South China MorningPost reported,citing a report by Lin Yuan and Polar Zhang, analysts at BOC International. Theratio could climb to 6.6% by 2018, compared with 1.67% at the end of 2015.
* TheChina Banking Regulatory Commission has required banking institutions to increasetheir risk management capabilities when engaged in overseas operations, Shanghai Securities News reported.The regulator noted that lenders should not rely entirely on external ratings beforemaking bond-related investment decisions overseas.
* CEO Charles Li Xiaojia said the Shenzhen-Hong Kong stock connect is ready, cnstock.comreported.The stock connect is expected to conduct market rehearsals for three to four monthsbefore it is officially launched. Li said he hopes that the program can give Chineseinvestors another asset management channel.
* Sixty-sixdirectors, supervisors and senior management officials at China's 16 listed bankshave resigned from their posts since the beginning of 2015, the Securities Daily reported.Among them, nine management employees at IndustrialBank Co. Ltd., or about 35% of the bank's senior management, left theirposts. Insiders said some lenders seek to copy their rivals' successful businessmodels by recruiting from competitors' ranks.
* ThePeople's Bank of China said the country's mobile payment business surged 208.28%year over year to 23.46 trillion yuan in the fourth quarter of 2015, the China Securities Journal reported.The total noncash payment business in China for the whole of 2015 was 348.85 trillionyuan.
* Theannual salaries of chairmen and presidents of China's five major banks — , , ,China Construction Bank Corp.and China Development Bank Corp.— fell from around 1 million yuan in 2014 to between 500,000 yuan and 600,000 yuanin 2015, Caixin reported. Meanwhile,the annual salaries of many joint stock banks in the country remained at severalmillion yuan.
JAPAN AND KOREA
* Forthe first time as a Japanese bank, SumitomoMitsui Banking Corp. has decided to add fees on specific correspondentaccounts for overseas settlement starting April, The Sankei Shimbun reported.
* Applicationsfor mortgage refinancing that were filed at Japan's six major banks, including and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking, increased 3.6x since 2015 to 23,600 as of the end ofMarch, The Asahi Shimbun reported.
* TheBank of Japan is considering cutting inflation forecasts in its economic outlookreport from the current 0.8% for fiscal 2016 and 1.8% for fiscal 2017 to reflectcooling sentiment, as inflation expectations of Japanese households, businessesand markets sink, The Nikkei reported.
* Allsavings banks in South Korea will be able to lend up to 80 million won, startingApril 8, the Maeil Business Newspaperreported.
* SouthKorea's Financial Supervisory Service and the Bank of Korea will conduct joint inspections for target redemptionforward products and other derivatives transactions involving currency exchangerates, the Seoul Economic Daily reported.
* SouthKorean regulators will start inspections on commercial banks to monitor sales ofindividual savings account products, as these products have surpassed 700 billionwon in sales since the product was introduced, the Korea Economic Daily reported.
* Manager Daily reportedthat Krung Thai Bank PCLhas cut its minimum lending rate by 25 basis points to 6.275%, effective April 6.KASIKORNBANK PCL alsoslashedits MLR by 25 basis points to 6.25%, and TMBBank PCL cut both MLR and the minimum retail rate by 25 basis pointsto 6.775% and 7.775%, respectively, effective April 7, the publication reportedseparately.
* Post Today reported that the attributed a lowerlending rate in Thailand to excess liquidity in the financial system and loose monetarypolicy. The central bank believes the revised rates will benefit borrowers in thecountry, particularly small and medium-sized businesses.
* Krungthep Turakij reported that Thailand's Consumer Confidence Indexfell for a third consecutive month to a five-month low of 73.5 in March due to concernsover a slow economic recovery, severe drought and weak exports. The index stoodat 74.7 in February.
* appointed Steve Chen Thien Yin as its new CEO, The Edge Markets reported.Chen replaces Selamat Sirat, who has served as acting CEO since Datuk AzrulnizamAbdul Aziz resigned in October 2014.
* saidFe Alicia Pastoral resignedas vice president and group head of the bank's corporate banking group, effectiveMay 1.
* Indonesia'snonperforming loan ratio is predicted to increase to 3% in the middle of 2016, upfrom around 2.7%, Kompas reported,citing Tjandra Lienandjaja, an analyst at Mandiri Sekuritas.
* AntonGunawan, chief economist at Bank Mandiri, forecast that Indonesia's economy wouldexpand by 5% in 2016, with annual inflation at 4.5% and the benchmark Bank Indonesiarate at 6.5%, Bisnis Indonesia reported.
* expects pretax profit of 300 billion dong for fiscal 2016, up 19% year over year,Viet Nam News reported,citing the bank. The lender also plans to increase its charter capital to 4 trilliondong from 3 trillion dong.
* SOVANNAPHUMLife Assurance, an insurancejoint venture of Canadia Bank Plcand Muang Thai Life Assurance PCL,started marketing in Cambodia, The Nationreported.CEO Umapan Charoenying said the joint venture is developing life insurance products.
* IndianMinister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha expects the rate cut by the central bankwill work as stimulus for the economy, Indo-Asian News Agency reported.Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das said the cut will steer the economy inthe direction set by the government.
* TheReserve Bank of India is part of an investigative team probing the leaked filesof Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, BusinessStandard reported,citing Governor Raghuram Rajan. The Indian Finance Ministry has announced a multiagencyinvestigation team to look into Indian locals named in the leaks.
* will soon launch insurance products for startups, The Economic Times reported,citing Birendra Mohanty, vice president of the insurer's small and medium-sizedenterprises and broking division.
* Robbershave looted around 8 million rupees from a Karachi branch of Pakistan's , The Express Tribune reported,citing the police.
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
* DavidMurray, former chief of CommonwealthBank of Australia, has called out the Australian Securities and InvestmentsCommission for pursuing lapses in corporate culture at banks, The Australian reported.Murray said the task is "absolutely impossible," and does "more damagethan good."
* AustralianPrudential Regulation Authority Chairman Wayne Byres said the country's lendersstill have room for improvement in funding profiles, The Australian reported.The executive said Australian banks' lengthier term funding has contracted, whichwill be an important area of attention over the next few years.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
* U.S.-basedAmbac Financial Group Inc.is bidding to acquire CIFG AssuranceNorth America Inc., Reuters reported,citing "people familiar with the matter." The people told the news outletCIFG has engaged Houlihan Lokey Inc.to explore a sale of the company.
* IcelandPrime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson resignedafter his name appeared in the Panama Papers, a slew of leaked documents about Panamatax shelters, The New York Times reported, citing his deputy.The Iceland premier became the first major political casualty of the leaks, thepublication noted.
* is cuttingits credit sales and trading operations to reduce costs and simplify the bank, BloombergNews reported,citing a person briefed on the matter. Siobhan McCluskey, a representative for thebank, confirmed the move, but did not specify actual job cuts.
* Brazil'santitrust regulator Cade said it will approve Banco Bradesco SA's deal to acquire HSBC Holdings Plc's Brazilian business, provided the banksagree on measures to minimize market concentration, Reuters reported, citing the official gazette. However, the recommendationof imposing restrictions on the deal is not binding and it is subject to approvalby a separate Cade court, according to the news source.
Sally Wang, Sarun Saelee, CathyHwang, Emi White and Aditya Suharmoko contributed to this report.
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