* The first meeting of the ECB in the Christine Lagarde era marked a more hawkish tone than under her predecessor Mario Draghi, as minutes from the December 2019 meeting of the Governing Council, released Jan. 16, included more references to the potential pitfalls of negative rates and loose policy more broadly.
UK AND IRELAND
* Barclays PLC plans to cut roughly 100 senior jobs, mostly in trading positions across its corporate and investment bank, insiders told Bloomberg News. The bank has started cutting mainly managing director and director roles in its London and Asian financial hubs.
* In a letter to financial firms, the Bank of England and the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority followed up their deadline to end the use of sterling Libor with a warning that the BoE's Financial Policy Committee "will keep the potential use of supervisory tools under review in light of transition progress made by firms."
* The U.K. Financial Services Compensation Scheme said it is too early to predict the amount of compensation it has to pay investors in now-defunct London Capital & Finance PLC, City A.M. reported. The regulator has said it could pay 159 bondholders out of a total of 11,600 investors in the company.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA
* The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, or FINMA, said it still has unanswered questions about Credit Suisse Group AG's surveillance activities, signaling a deepening investigation into the bank's spying affair. FINMA Chairman Thomas Bauer said Credit Suisse's use of external security companies is not a supervisory issue in itself, but that the group still has to answer the regulator's queries about its corporate governance, including documentation, control, information behavior and communication channels.
* Swiss asset manager GAM Holding AG said it expects to book 2019 underlying pretax profit, excluding non-recurring and acquisition-related items, of about CHF10 million, compared to CHF126.7 million in the prior year. The firm cited a decline in assets under management and related revenues in investment management.
* Global Blue, a Swiss technology and payments platform for international merchants, is set to be publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange through a merger with the U.S. blank-check firm Far Point Acquisition Corp.
FRANCE AND BENELUX
* Pan-European banking group KBL European Private Bankers SA has rebranded as Quintet Private Bank, while units KBL Luxembourg and KBL España were renamed Quintet Luxembourg and Quintet España, respectively.
* VIVAT NV CEO Ron van Oijen has resigned from his post, effective Jan. 31. With a new chairman of the executive board yet to be appointed, Maarten Dijkshoorn will serve as supervisory board member delegate for the interim period.
* A hearing at the Brussels court in Belgium regarding the criminal investigation into Fortis Bank has been set for February 17, more than 11 years after the Belgian bank went bankrupt, De Tijd reported
SPAIN AND PORTUGAL
* The Portuguese central bank is conducting an inspection of the anti-money laundering procedures of small lender EuroBic, formerly Banco BIC Português SA, in which Angolan billionaire Isabel dos Santos is the main shareholder, Reuters reported. The bank said the inspection began in late November, before authorities in Angola froze dos Santos' assets.
* Caixa Económica Montepio Geral Caixa Económica Bancária SA and Banco BNI Europa are at the center of an investigation into certain customer banking transactions carried between 2011 and 2014, Observador wrote. Authorities have searched the banks' offices to gather evidence relating to suspected fraud and money laundering.
* CaixaBank SA has started negotiations with unions over its voluntary redundancy plan for employees aged 58 or over in the provinces of Barcelona and Teruel, insiders told Efe. The bank estimates that the number of qualified employees is 376.
ITALY AND GREECE
* Cerved Group SpA has received two offers, one from Intrum Italy for €450 million in cash and the other from Credito Fondiario SpA, which is worth €700 million and foresees the merger of Fonspa with Cerved's credit management division and its subsequent listing in 2021, MF wrote.
* Intesa Sanpaolo SpA is prepared to fund €50 billion in green investments in Italy, Reuters reported, citing the bank's CEO Carlo Messina.
* An Italian court rejected an appeal by ING Groep NV against an order by the Bank of Italy in March 2019 prohibiting the Dutch bank's Italian branch from conducting new business with new clients over lapses in money laundering controls.
* The finance committee of Italy's lower house of parliament approved a decree for the rescue of Banca Popolare di Bari SCpA, Il Sole 24 Ore reported.
* Vittorio Malacalza, former major shareholder of Banca Carige SpA, is asking €480 million in compensation from the bank, depositor protection fund FITD and Cassa Centrale Banca, saying that the fund and CCB undervalued the lender when they came to its rescue, Il Messaggero reported.
* The regional directors of UniCredit SpA have been called to carry out a commercial valuation of the bank's less profitable outlets, the first step towards the closure of some 500 branches, 450 of which in Italy, Il Messaggero wrote.
* Estonia's prosecutor general is expanding the scope of its investigation into the alleged role of Danske Bank A/S' now-defunct local branch in laundering billions of euros. The prosecutor will investigate more than 10 cases concerning transactions of up to $2 billion.
* Nykredit A/S and Nykredit Realkredit A/S Chairman Steffen Kragh will step down at the upcoming March 26 general meetings. The board of directors plan to elect Deputy Chairman Merete Eldrup as new chairman.
* The Turkish lira rallied yesterday as the country's central bank eased its monetary policy at the slowest rate in nearly six months, with its one-week repo auction rate lowered by 75 basis points to 11.25%, in what it described as a "measured" move.
* Austria's Erste Group Bank AG has ruled out making an offer for Commerzbank AG's Polish subsidiary mBank SA, citing "complexity of the deal structure" and "limited synergies" of the Polish lender with its existing operations.
* Meanwhile, mBank said it decided to set aside 293 million zloty portfolio to cover legal risk related to its Swiss franc-indexed mortgage loans, to be booked in its fourth-quarter results. The bank also expects a negative impact of 78 million zlotys on its gross financial result for the fourth quarter from the European Court of Justice's September ruling on the reimbursement of portion of fees on early repaid consumer loans.
* Millennium BCP's Polish unit Bank Millennium SA will also book a provision amounting to 150 million zlotys for legal risks stemming from its forex mortgage loans.
* The Russian central bank requested former managers of PAO Moscow Industrial Bank to pay 195.3 billion rubles for losses the lender incurred prior to its bailout in January 2019, Vedomosti reported. The regulator wants to retrieve the funds from 19 executives that managed Moscow Industrial Bank in the last three years before the bailout.
* The Russian finance ministry and the central bank want to extend the financial recovery mechanism used for banks, pension funds and insurance companies to also cover the central depository and central counterparties, Kommersant said. Under the proposal, the central bank would launch a financial recovery procedure in the event of a threat to the financial stability of these organizations or the stability of the financial market.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: Ant Financial said to revive IPO; Indian bank plans regulatory action exit
Middle East & Africa: South Africa cuts key rate; Al Hilal Bank to sell Islamic insurance ops
Latin America: Argentina's 2019 inflation highest since 1991; Banco C6's corporate banking ops
North America: Morgan Stanley Q4'19 EPS up 63%; bank deals in Massachusetts, Florida
Global Insurance: 'Significant' reinsurance rate hikes to come; Hannover Re cat bond; 2019 heat
NOW FEATURED ON S&P GLOBAL MARKET INTELLIGENCE
British desire to win 'equivalence' status from EU boosted by finance report: The U.K.'s aim of winning 'equivalent' status from the European Union for its financial services after Brexit has received a boost from Europe's leading wholesale financial markets body.
Dutch banks seek solutions to 'much more violent' spate of ATM bomb attacks: Lenders in the Netherlands are seeking new ways to prevent ATM robberies using explosives as the number of such crimes spiked in 2019, forcing lenders to shut down cashpoints and stop overnight withdrawals.
Deza Mones, Daniel Stephens, Meike Wijers, Esben Svendsen, Beata Fojcik, Yael Schrage, Brian McCulloch, Sophie Davies and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.
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