* The Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong fined FWD Life Insurance HK$2.4 million for failing to have at least two key personnel with at least five years of investment experience managing its public funds from December 2012 to November 2016, International Investment reported.
* Hong Kong's Easy Repay Finance & Investment Ltd. appointed Siu Yeuk Hung Clara as CEO to replace Shiu Yeuk Yuen, who resigned from the position. Shiu Yeuk Yuen will continue to remain chairman and executive director of the company.
* X Financial, a personal finance company in China, appointed CITIC aiBank Corp. Ltd as its custodian bank, to provide fund custodian services including settlement, accounting, clearing services and safeguarding online lending capital to Xiaoying Wealth Management.
* HSBC Bank (Taiwan) Ltd. will allow credit card clients flexibility in using their cash rebate to better compete in the market, the Taipei Times reported, citing Linda Yip, head of retail banking. Clients can either use cash rebate for miles or to offset credit card bill, a move which departs from industry practice where clients can only choose one.
JAPAN AND KOREA
* Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. has set up a ¥20 billion venture capital fund to invest in startup payments, remittances and asset management companies in the U.S. Southeast Asia and Japan, The Nikkei reported. The fund will be available for 10 years.
* Japan's kabu.com Securities Co. Ltd. and Jibun Bank Corp. will roll out a service allowing clients of Kabu Securities to transfer funds to their Jibun Bank accounts and vice versa, The Nikkei reported. Customers will also be able to open a Jibun Bank checking account and apply for a home loan from Kabu Securities' website
* Former Woori Bank CEO Lee Kwang-goo was sentenced to 1.5 years in prison for favoring job candidates with links to the South Korean bank's important clients or high-ranking government officials, Yonhap News Agency reported.
* Kasikornbank PCL reiterated that it has no plan to increase its lending rate and believed that all commercial banks in Thailand will remain cautious about the rate hike in order to avoid adverse effects on their loan customers, Post Today reported, citing President and Director Predee Daochai.
* The Bank of Thailand forecasts Thai economic growth at 4% in 2019, citing many risk factors such as effects of the U.S. protectionist policy against China, slow economic growth of trade partners, geopolitical conflicts and lower-than-expected growth of private consumption and government spending, Manager Daily reported.
* Indonesian state lender PT Bank Tabungan Negara (Persero) Tbk is looking for 14 trillion rupiah in wholesale funding to support credit expansion, Bisnis Indonesia said, citing CFO Iman Nugroho Soeko. The figure is lower than the 18 trillion rupiah targeted in 2018.
* The Indonesian Deposit Insurance Agency, or LPS, raised the guaranteed interest rates on commercial banks to 7% for rupiah deposits and 2.25% for forex deposits, effective Jan. 13 to May 14, Bisnis Indonesia reported, citing Halim Alamsyah, chairman of the Board of Commissioners of LPS.
* Bisnis Indonesia said Iwan Satawidinata has resigned from his position as vice president director of PT Bank UOB Indonesia.
* Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Bhd. has received Bank Negara Malaysia's approval to proceed with talks on a proposed merger with Al Rajhi Banking & Investment Corp. (Malaysia) Bhd., Utusan Malaysia reported. The company has three months from the date of the central bank's approval to finalize negotiations.
* The Indian government approved a US$75 billion swap arrangement between India and Japan to enhance the Reserve Bank of India's ability to manage exchange rate volatility, Press Trust of India reported, citing Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
* India-based Capital Small Finance Bank Ltd. is looking to raise at least 1.5 billion rupees through the issuance equity shares, Mint reported, citing two people aware of the development. The bank plans to use the capital to expand its loan book and operations.
* India's Bandhan Bank Ltd. reported a net profit of 3.31 billion rupees for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2018, up from 3.00 billion rupees in the prior-year period.
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
* National Australia Bank Ltd. appointed Philippa King as general manager government affairs and public policy, The Australian reported. King was an adviser to former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
* Australia's Productivity Commission, a government arm tasked to review microeconomic policy and regulations, called on the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority and Australian Securities and Investments Commission to strengthen an industry code of practice that protects consumers from paying unusable or inappropriate life insurance through their superannuation funds, The Australian reported.
* Australia's superannuation industry criticized the Productivity Commission's proposal to create a list of funds from which customers can choose from, calling it inadequate and anti-competitive, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. The list would replace a practice in which funds are assigned to consumers via deals between their workplace and a superannuation fund.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Middle East & Africa: Abraaj gets stake in C&I; Al Baraka eyes Asia; Zenith Bank's retail push
Europe: US investor sues Danske Bank; Deutsche Bank shares take another beating
Latin America: Moody's LatAm outlook for 2019 stable; 2 Banxico board members named
North America: BlackRock promotes likely CEO successor; State Street firing 15% of senior execs
Global Insurance: Zurich sued over NotPetya; Fed backs NAIC capital regime; European winter storm
Janna Estares, Sally Wang, Sarun Saelee, Cathy Hwang, Emi White and Aditya Suharmoko contributed to this report.
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