* The International Monetary Fund lowered its global growth projections for 2018 to 3.7% from a previous estimate of 3.9%, noting in its latest World Economic Outlook report that escalating trade tensions remain one of the biggest threats to sustained growth. The IMF revised its growth forecast for the eurozone down by 0.2 percentage point from a July estimate to 2% for 2018, while its forecast for the U.K. stood at 1.4%.
* European shares tumbled yesterday amid lingering concerns of a looming battle between the European Commission and the Italian government over the latter's budget plan, with the Italian benchmark index FTSE MIB closing 2.43% lower as a rise in government bond yields put pressure on local banks' shares. UniCredit SpA and Intesa Sanpaolo SpA both closed down more than 3% yesterday, while Mediobanca - Banca di Credito Finanziario SpA dropped more than 4% and Banco BPM SpA fell more than 6%.
* Germany's DAX index closed 1.36% lower, while France's CAC 40 dipped 1.10% and Britain's FTSE 100 shed 1.16%. The Euro Stoxx Banks index dropped 1.54%.
* Banks in the EU have continued to improve the overall quality of their loan portfolios, with the nonperforming loan ratio standing at 3.6% in the second quarter, according to the European Banking Authority. Profitability remains a concern for the sector, the EBA said.
* ECB Governing Council member Klaas Knot told Börsen-Zeitung that central bank officials may consider accelerating the process of removing their extraordinary stimulus if the eurozone economy grows in line with projections, Bloomberg News reported. Knot also said the ECB will have to begin interest rate hike discussions in January 2019, while risks linked to ultra-loose financial conditions continue to increase, according to Reuters.
UK AND IRELAND
* Aviva PLC said Mark Wilson will step down as CEO, effective today, but will remain with the group until April 2019. The insurance group said it will commence a search for Wilson's successor immediately in a process that is expected to be completed within the next four months. Wilson has served as Aviva's CEO since January 2013.
* Barclays Bank PLC Chairman Gerry Grimstone told CNBC that British banks could benefit from the ongoing trade spat between the U.S. and China, particularly if Beijing reduces market access for U.S. lenders as tensions escalate.
* London clearing house LCH told European banks that they will have three months' notice to settle their affairs and find alternatives in case Britain exits the EU without a deal for a future partnership, Les Echos wrote.
* The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority is consulting on new rules to reduce the risk of investor runs on open-ended funds that hold illiquid assets, such as real estate.
* Prudential PLC is eyeing acquisitions and distribution partnerships with lenders in Asia, Nic Nicandrou, CEO of the company's Asia operations, told Reuters.
* Santander UK Group Holdings PLC named Susan Allen head of its retail and business banking operations in the U.K., effective by the end of the year, Reuters wrote.
* Cenkos Securities PLC CEO Anthony Hotson will step down from the board, effective Oct. 31.
* The Irish central bank fined Citigroup Inc.'s Irish unit Citibank Europe PLC roughly €1.3 million for six breaches to its lending code.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA
* German payments provider Wirecard AG said it anticipates group revenues to reach at least €10 billion as part of its 2025 targets, with EBITDA of more than €3.3 billion. The company also forecasts transaction volume to increase to more than €710 billion in 2025.
* Lawyers for UBS Group AG demanded at the start of the bank's trial in Paris yesterday that the court drop the allegation of money laundering and limit the case to tax fraud, which has lower penalties, Handelsblatt reported. The bank is on trial over claims that it helped wealthy clients fraudulently evade up to €10 billion.
* The deadline for interested parties to make their first indicative offers for a stake in state-owned Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale expired yesterday, Handelsblatt wrote. Bidders are believed to include Landesbank Baden-Württemberg, Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen Girozentrale and private equity firms Cerberus Capital Management LP and Apollo Global Management LLC.
* As part of restructuring measures, UniCredit Bank Austria AG is moving wealthy clients with more than €1 million in assets to wealth management subsidiary Schoellerbank AG, Der Standard reported.
* SIX Group AG said it has licensed the Swiss Average Rate Overnight interest rate index to derivatives exchange Eurex as an underlying instrument for futures contracts.
FRANCE AND BENELUX
* Vivat NV said its Chinese parent Anbang Insurance Group Co. Ltd. is conducting a strategic review of its ownership of the Dutch insurance company with a view for a potential sale, according to Reuters.
* Any big changes in climate policy following a stark warning by the United Nations about the need to cut carbon emissions may cost Dutch banks between €48 billion to €159 billion, Het Financieele Dagblad reported, citing the Dutch central bank.
* Belfius Insurance SA CEO Dirk Vanderschrick said the company aims to become the third-largest insurer in Belgium by expanding through acquisitions, Het Financieele Dagblad reported.
* French asset manager Amundi SA said it intends to have all of its funds rated according to environment, social and governance, or ESG, criteria as part of its 2021 action plan.
SPAIN AND PORTUGAL
* A Spanish judge lifted a secrecy order requested by the ECB over financial information on troubled lender Banco Popular Español SA with regard to criminal proceedings over alleged mismanagement of the bank's finances by former management, according to a court document. The ruling effectively ends restricted access to ECB information on Popular to the various parties involved in the criminal proceedings.
* Apollo Capital Partners has tapped Goldman Sachs to carry out the sale of Altamira, the platform that manages the real estate assets of Banco Santander SA and Spanish bad bank Sareb, insiders told Europa Press. Apollo holds 85% of Altamira, while Santander controls the remaining 15%.
ITALY AND GREECE
* Banco BPM is expected to shortly choose an adviser to examine options for Agos Ducato SpA, the consumer credit group controlled by Crédit Agricole SA in which the Italian lender has a 39% stake, MF said, noting that a sale, IPO or combination with Profamily, a consumer credit group owned by Banco BPM, are among possible options.
* Banca del Fucino SpA is in advanced discussions for the entrance of other institutional investors, after the bank and Barents confirmed that their negotiations had broken down due to divergences over strategy, MF wrote.
* Banca Carige SpA's management is meeting with the ECB as the lender seeks more time to present a capital preservation plan, Il Messaggero said.
* Nordea Bank Abp agreed to sell a nonperforming loans portfolio with total debt of €388 million to B2Holding ASA. The deal is expected to generate a capital gain of between €35 million and €45 million for the lender.
* EBA Chairman Andrea Enria told the European Parliament that the regulator is conducting a preliminary inquiry into the Danish Financial Supervision Authority over whether it potentially breached EU laws in its supervision of Danske Bank A/S, Reuters reported.
* Czech Republic-based Moneta Money Bank a.s. is in talks with Netherlands-based Home Credit BV to acquire the latter's Air Bank a.s. unit and its other businesses in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
* Another group of investors holding $16.2 million and €5.6 million worth of bonds guaranteed by PAO Promsvyazbank's former owners Dmitry and Aleksey Ananiev filed a lawsuit in a London court against the two businessmen, Vedomosti reported. The investors want to join ongoing legal proceedings already launched by a different group of bondholders in August, and want the court to freeze the Ananiev brothers' assets, including proceeds from the sale of a stake in Vozrozhdenie Bank to VTB Bank (PJSC).
* Santander Bank Polska SA purchased an over 10% stake in Deutsche Bank Polska SA for 258 million Polish zlotys as part of an earlier announced deal, under which Banco Santander's Polish unit is set to acquire part of Deutsche Bank AG's Polish business for 1.29 billion zlotys, Parkiet reported. Santander hopes to finalize the entire transaction in mid-November.
* The Serbian central bank held its key policy rate steady at 3.0% as it maintained expectations that annual inflation will move within the target tolerance band in the next two years.
* The Banks Association of Turkey called on its members to restructure some loans maturing before April 30, 2019, that are held by businesses with less than 15 million Turkish lira of debt, amid a currency crisis affecting Turkish firms, Reuters wrote.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: IAG, AMMB seek bids for Malaysian insurer; BNP Paribas to cut SBI Life stake
Middle East & Africa: Bank of Israel holds rate; Abraaj's stake in fund to be divided among investors
Latin America: Bolsonaro leads in 1st round of Brazil vote; World Bank cuts LatAm GDP forecast
North America: JPMorgan plans 400 job cuts; Citi to form new London bank post-Brexit
Global Insurance: Florida hurricane threat; Lancashire storm losses; Lloyd's Beale decries sexism
NOW FEATURED ON S&P GLOBAL MARKET INTELLIGENCE
Kuwait Finance House seeks M&A to expand Islamic banking footprint: Kuwait Finance House, the world's second-largest Shariah-compliant bank by assets, is seeking a merger or acquisition in Bahrain, highlighting opportunities in the Islamic banking sector both in the Gulf and Egypt, analysts said.
Losses at UK insurer Lancashire threaten dividend payments, analysts suggest: Marine and natural catastrophe claims at Lancashire put a special dividend in doubt and could mean a lower dividend yield for investors.
Leo Magno, Ed Meza, Danielle Rossingh, Gerard O'Dwyer, Beata Fojcik, Heather O'Brian, Brian McCulloch, Sophie Davies and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.
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