Editor's Note: The Daily Dose Europe will not be published Dec. 24, 25 and 26 on account of the holidays. The feature will return Dec. 27.
* OMERS, the pension plan for Ontario's municipal employees, will acquire a 40% interest in Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd.'s runoff group, RiverStone Insurance (UK) Ltd. The cash purchase price of at least $560 million will result in Fairfax Financial recording a gain of approximately $280 million before tax, subject to certain book value adjustments at closing.
* Protesters in Hong Kong have called for a boycott of U.K. bank HSBC Holdings PLC after the bank allegedly helped the city's police freeze HK$70 million held by Spark Alliance fund, which raises money to provide assistance to anti-government protesters, the Financial Times reported. The bank said the decision to close the account was unrelated to the "current Hong Kong situation," Bloomberg News reported.
UK AND IRELAND
* The U.K. named Financial Conduct Authority CEO Andrew Bailey to succeed Mark Carney as governor of the Bank of England. Bailey's appointment will take effect from March 16, 2020.
* U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit deal has won a majority in Parliament with 358 to 234 votes, and is set to proceed to its next stage, Bloomberg News reported. The deal offers no possibility to extend transition period past Dec. 31, 2020.
* HSBC and JPMorgan Chase & Co. are said to be among banks that allegedly accessed high-speed audio feed from Bank of England press conferences, which potentially gave them vital seconds of trading advantage, insiders told the Financial Times. The central bank said last week that a third-party supplier misused the audio feed of a number of press conferences before they had been officially broadcast.
* U.K. challenger bank TSB Banking Group PLC's former chief information officer, Carlos Abarca, has been moved back to Spanish parent Banco de Sabadell SA, The Times reported. It comes amid an investigation by U.K. regulators into Abarca's role in the bank's 2018 IT failure.
* Aberdeen Standard Investments Ltd. unit Standard Life Investments will replace Neil Woodford as manager of the LF Woodford Income Focus fund, Reuters reported, citing fund administrator Link Fund Solutions. Aberdeen Standard Investments is majority owned by Standard Life Aberdeen PLC. Link Fund Solutions expects to reopen the fund before March 2020, Financial News reported.
* Gibraltar-based motor insurer Tradewise Insurance Co. Ltd. will stop writing new or renewal business after Dec. 31.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA
* DWS Group GmbH & Co. KGaA CEO Asoka Wöhrmann will reach €150 million in savings by the end of 2019 for the investment management company and is targeting another €150 million until 2022, Handelsblatt wrote. He will also abolish internal titles such as managing director for all 3,500 employees in order to achieve a more performance-related structure and also to pay bonuses more flexibly. Further plans are to increase AUM of currently €752 billion by 3% to 5% of annually and to "stabilize" group profit.
* Germany's financial market regulator BaFin has ordered IKB Deutsche Industriebank AG to comply with the financial reporting requirements for one of its financing vehicles, Funding Trust I, otherwise it would impose a coercive penalty against IKB of €460,000.
* Credit Suisse Group AG is to present the results of its internal investigation into the alleged spying on former executive board member Peter Goerke, which, according to Tages-Anzeiger/Sonntagszeitung, could not find evidence that CEO Tidjane Thiam and Chairman Urs Rohner knew of the incident. Meanwhile, Swiss financial market supervisor Finma is sending an independent auditor to the bank to examine the case on its own.
* Japanese financial services group SBI Holdings Inc. entered into a cooperation with Börse Stuttgart GmbH and will invest in two of the latter's subsidiaries with crypto operations, Börse Stuttgart Digital Exchange GmbH and Börse Stuttgart Digital Ventures GmbH, in order to tap the European market for crypto assets, while Börse Stuttgart seeks to do the same in Asia.
* Apollo Global Management Inc. is considering a bid for Commerzbank AG Polish unit mBank SA, Die Welt reported, citing Bloomberg News.
* The Swiss federal prosecutor is pressing charges against former Ukrainian member of parliament Mykola Martynenko and a second Ukrainian citizen over alleged money laundering through Swiss banks Bank Julius Bär & Co. AG and the defunct Bank Hottinger & Cie Ltd.
* In its quest for new income sources, PostFinance AG is venturing into digital investment and asset management services, Tages-Anzeiger wrote.
* Coutts & Co AG complied to pay an additional $27.9 million on top of a 2015 penalty of $78.4 million to the U.S. Department of Justice for a non-prosecution agreement involving undeclared U.S.-related accounts which it did not entirely disclose at the first time.
FRANCE AND BENELUX
* The French financial system is at an increased risk from falling interest rates because of the pressure they are putting on banks' profitability and insurers' solvency.
* Amundi SA received approval from the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission for the creation of an asset management company in China with BOC Wealth Management, a subsidiary of Bank of China, l'Agefi wrote.
* Société Générale SA and U.S. unit Societe Generale - New York Branch entered into a written agreement with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to submit a written plan within 60 days to strengthen oversight of the bank's compliance risk management program by its U.S. Risk Committee.
SPAIN AND PORTUGAL
* CaixaBank SA sold a €865 million bad loan portfolio to Intrum AB (publ), the second large ticket sale to the Swedish debt management firm on the Spanish market in less than a week, El Economista reported. The bad loans are mainly consumer and corporate loans.
* Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA, meanwhile, completed the sale of a portfolio of written-off loans worth €2.1 billion to Cabot and funds managed by CarVal Investors.
* Portugal's Novo Banco SA signed a preliminary deal to sell Spanish fund management holding company Novo Activos Financieros España to Spain's Trea Asset Management, Jornal de Negócios reported.
ITALY AND GREECE
* Marco Jacobini, former chairman of Banca Popolare di Bari SCpA, is under investigation for corruption, while other three managers, former CEO Giorgio Papa, former co-director general Gianluca Jacobini and former head of credit Nicola Loperfido are also under investigation for collusion in bankruptcy, all dailies including Corriere della Sera reported.
* Italy's banks are not yet clear on how much money Banca Popolare di Bari will need, and will delay the decision on how much would be injected into the bank until January 2020, Reuters reported.
* Banca Popolare di Bari is expected to post a net loss of €400 million to €450 million for 2019, Il Messaggero reported.
* The industrial plan of Ventis, the newly created e-money unit of Iccrea Holding SpA, foresees double-digit growth in 2020 and 2021, Mauro Pastore, director genera of Iccrea told Milano Finanza.
* Banca Carige SpA successfully closed the €700 million capital increase and Francesco Guido, former director general of Banco di Napoli, will become the new CEO and Vincenzo Calandra Bonaura, former deputy chairman of UniCredit, the new chairman, most dailies including Il Sole 24 Ore reported.
* Italy's Treasury has injected €1 billion into bad loan manager AMCO through a capital hike, Reuters reported, adding that AMCO completed the acquisition of a portfolio of soured loans with a gross book value of €2.8 billion from Banca Carige.
* Italy-based Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA has received three binding offers for a portfolio of real estate assets, insiders told Reuters.
* Latvia's Financial and Capital Market Commission has imposed an administrative fee on Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB of €672,684 for shortcomings related to regulations against money laundering and €1.12 million for infringements of international sanctions.
* Swedbank AB (publ) has given a statement to the financial regulators of Estonia and Sweden, and agreed with several observations and preliminary assessments made by the supervisory authorities, Realtid reported. The bank said it has had insufficient internal control and to deal with suspected money laundering, and may have been used to launder money.
* Norwegian savings bank Hønefoss Sparebank has been handed a 1.5 million Norwegian kroner fine by financial regulator Finanstilsynet for noncompliance with money laundering regulations, Dagens Næringsliv reported. The bank has formerly been strongly criticized for its lack of routines and expertise on money laundering, and bank manager Per-Arne Hansen had to step down earlier this year.
* Danske Andelskassers Bank has been strongly criticized by financial regulator Finanstilsynet, which said the bank continues to take risks, and has "significant deficiencies in credit management," Finans reported. The bank was ordered to downgrade 21 of 110 loans under review, increase write-downs by 3.5 million Danish kroner, and had its solvency need increased by 1.6 percentage points.
* The Bulgarian central bank decided to increase the countercyclical capital buffer rate for banks to 1.5% starting from the first quarter of 2021, noting the move is aimed at strengthening the resilience of the banking sector against adverse developments in the economic environment. The buffer rate is now set at 0.5% and will increase to 1% from April 2020.
* Slovenian insurer Zavarovalnica Triglav d.d. said in its 2020 business plan it will strive to increase its consolidated written gross premium to around €1.2 billion next year from €1.1 billion eyed in 2019 and intends to boost its pretax profit to between €95 and €105 million from €90 and €100 million targeted in 2019. The company noted it will operate under difficult conditions in 2020, with its insurance business dominated by the effects of fierce competition and the investment business affected by the unfavorable financial environment.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: Amundi wins approval for China JV; Apollo, others shortlisted for UDC Finance
Middle East & Africa: South Africa sanctions 5 banks; Letshego sees higher profit; S&P affirms Lebanon
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Sheryl Obejera, Arno Maierbrugger, Meike Wijers, Esben Svendsen, Beata Fojcik, Yael Schrage, Stephanie Salti, Sophie Davies and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.
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