* China's Ministry of Finance transferred 12.33 billion A-shares, or 3.46% of the total shares of Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd.; 13.72 billion A-shares, or 3.92% of the total shares of Agricultural Bank of China Ltd.; and 1.97 billion A-shares, or 2.65% of the total shares of Bank of Communications Co. Ltd., to the country’s social security fund.
* The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission approved China Everbright Bank Co. Ltd. to set up a consumer finance company within six months, Caixin reported.
* Shandong-based HENGFENG BANK CO. Ltd. received 100 billion yuan in strategic investment as part of a restructuring process led by the local government, Xinhua News Agency reported. Central Huijin Investment Ltd. invested 60 billion yuan, while Shandong's provincial government invested 36 billion yuan and eight of the lender's former shareholders invested the remaining 4 billion yuan.
* China's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said Hu Huaibang, former chairman of China Development Bank, was expelled from the Communist Party for serious violations of discipline. The CCDI will seize Hu's income and transfer his case to the country's judicial bodies.
* The China Securities Regulatory Commission gave lifetime bans from the securities markets to Zhu Yidong, former chairman of Fuxing Group, and Zhao Zhuoquan, the former president, for running a scheme to embezzle 36.6 billion yuan raised by privately offered funds, Caixin reported.
* The China Securities Regulatory Commission has voted in Wang Jianjun, president and CEO of the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, to be its new chairman, Caixin reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter.
* Mizuho Securities Co. Ltd. will eliminate fees for online margin trading starting Feb. 3, while increasing the rate for borrowing money for trading to 2.98% from 1.35%, Tokyo's The Nikkei reported.
* A number of South Korean banks and brokerages including Woori Bank, KEB Hana Bank, Shinhan Bank Co. Ltd., Industrial Bank of Korea, Shinhan Investment Corp., KB Securities Co. Ltd., Daishin Securities Co. Ltd., Mirae Asset Daewoo Co. Ltd., Korea Investment & Securities Co. Ltd., Yuanta Securities Korea Co. Ltd., Hanwha Investment & Securities Co. Ltd. and Samsung Securities Co. Ltd. said they would consider lawsuits if a probe by South Korea's Financial Supervisory Service and Samil PricewaterhouseCoopers finds irregularities in Lime Asset Management's option-based funds, The Korea Times reported.
* Meanwhile, Financial Supervisory Service said it received more than 100 petitions from investors concerning the sale of fund options by Lime Asset Management, The Korea Herald reported. The regulator said it is looking into individual cases and has sent inquiries for clarification to the banks involved in the sales.
* Japan's Financial Services Agency is planning to implement a rule under which leverage in cryptocurrency margin trading will be capped at twice the deposits of traders, The Japan Times reported, citing sources. The regulator arrived at this limit based on past price fluctuations and foreign cryptocurrency regulations.
* Adisorn Sermchaiwong, president and CEO of CIMB Thai Bank PCL, said the firm decided to shutter its sub-branches at 7-Eleven stores in late 2019 due to lower-than-expected transaction volume in the past two years, partly resulting from a waiver on digital transaction fees in the country, Krungthep Turakij reported.
* Chinese payment system WeChat Pay has commenced operations in Indonesia from Jan. 1 in cooperation with domestic lender PT Bank CIMB Niaga Tbk, Bisnis Indonesia reported. Bank Indonesia deputy governor Sugeng said all noncash application-based transactions must use the QR Indonesia Standard system, noting that the central bank is developing QRIS for cross-border transactions.
* Mirah Dewi Wiryoatmodjo resigned from her post as compliance director at PT Bank OCBC NISP Tbk, Bisnis Indonesia reported.
* Thai financial technology startup Lightnet raised US$31.2 million in a Series A funding round, The Business Times reported. Singapore-based UOB Venture Management Private Ltd co-led the round and South Korea's Hanwha Investment & Securities Co. Ltd. and Japan's Seven Bank Ltd. participated.
* Singapura Finance Ltd. and MatchMove Pay Pte. Ltd. are said to have applied for a digital banking license in Singapore together, The Business Times reported.
* India's Finance Ministry proposed raising the foreign direct investment limit in insurance and pension enterprises to 74% from 49%, Bloomberg News reported. The ministry also proposed allowing foreign ownerships of local airlines and 100% foreign investment in companies in the railway, education and rental housing management sectors.
* India's Yes Bank Ltd. said its board approved the issuance of securities in one or more tranches to raise funds up to 100 billion rupees. Its board also rejected the proposed investment from Canadian investor Erwin Singh Braich and Hong Kong-based SPGP Holdings. It added that it would decide on the US$500 million offer from Citax Holdings and Citax Investment Group in its next board meeting. Separately, the bank disclosed that the audit committee's board chairman, Uttam Prakash Agarwal, submitted his resignation, citing concerns regarding the bank’s corporate governance and compliance.
* The board of nonbanking financial firm Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd. proposed a mechanism for distributing the financial liquidation amounts to India's National Company Law Appellate Tribunal under which net sale proceeds will be distributed under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code’s "waterfall" mechanism and the rest will be given to each class of creditors, The Economic Times reported.
* Chaitanya India Fin Credit Pvt. Ltd. applied for a universal bank license with India's central bank, Business Standard reported, citing a statement from the firm. It would focus on the retail and small enterprises sectors. Meanwhile, The Economic Times reported that the International Finance Corp. is planning to acquire a 4.5% holding in Navi Technologies for US$30 million.
* The Reserve Bank of India restricted Sri Gururaghavendra Sahakara Bank Niyamitha from making or renewing any loans or advances, making any investments, incurring any liabilities and making any payments from the close of business Jan. 10. The central bank said the lender would continue to do business under the restrictions until the betterment of its financial position.
* India's central bank updated the framework for penalizing authorized payment systems, under which it can impose a fine of up to 500,000 rupees or twice the amount involved in the rules violations.
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
* Melos Sulicich, managing director and CEO of MyState Ltd. has decided to step down and will leave the company at the end of his contract in July 2020, according to a disclosure. Sulicich said the resignation was a personal decision.
* Westpac Banking Corp. raised $US4 billion in bonds via the sale of senior unsecured and covered bonds in the U.S. market, The Australian Financial Review reported. Its notes also received offers worth almost $US9 billion from fixed-income investors. Meanwhile, Commonwealth Bank of Australia raised £1 billion in the UK by selling five-year covered bonds.
* IOOF Holdings Ltd. singled out 67 of its financial advisers as "higher risk" and said their conduct has been reported to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission as a "potential breach for the collective," The Australian Financial Times reported, citing a company spokesperson.
* The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority is finalizing a new risk assessment ratings model, Supervisory Risk and Intensity model, which will take the place of the current systems Probability and Impact Rating System and Supervisory Oversight and Response System, The Australian Financial Times reported. The new ratings system is expected to be released by mid-year and the regulator.
R Sio, Sally Wang, Sarun Saelee, Cathy Hwang, Emi White and Aditya Suharmoko contributed to this report.
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