* ECB Vice President Luis de Guindos said big banks in Europe should merge with their counterparts in other countries while smaller players can cut costs by consolidating locally, Reuters reported. De Guindos also favored the privatization of Spanish lender Bankia SA.
* EU leaders on Friday delayed proposed reforms aimed at protecting the eurozone from another crisis, giving finance ministers another six months to iron out differences over the measures, Reuters reported.
UK AND IRELAND
* U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government is expected to return the Withdrawal Agreement bill for debate in Parliament before Christmas and have it approved potentially in time for the Jan. 31, 2020 Brexit deadline, following the Conservative Party's sweeping win in last week's general elections, Bloomberg News reported. Johnson is also anticipated to name new Cabinet ministers today. Meanwhile, DBRS Morningstar affirmed the U.K.'s long-term foreign- and local-currency issuer ratings at AAA on greater Brexit clarity.
* London Stock Exchange Group PLC is set to replace COO Chris Corrado as part of a shakeup of top management aimed at turning around the company's underperforming trading technology unit, insiders told the Financial Times. The company is expected to announce this week that it will replace Corrado with Anthony McCarthy, the chief information officer of its clearing house LCH Group Holdings Ltd.
* Aberdeen Standard Investments Ltd. is reviewing its retail property assets, which include shopping centers and retail parks, following concerns about the company's £1.2 billion property fund, which has been hit by redemptions, The Times reported.
* Lloyds Banking Group PLC CEO António Horta-Osório will meet the victims of an alleged fraud at unit HBOS PLC's Reading branch this week to discuss compensation after a review ordered by regulators found "serious shortcomings" in the lender's redress process, The Times wrote.
* Link Fund Solutions will start winding up Woodford Investment Management Ltd.'s flagship equity income fund on Jan. 18, 2020, City A.M. reported, citing a letter to investors from the former.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA
* Deutsche Bank AG's employees could see a steep reduction in their bonuses for 2019, as the German lender is said to be considering slashing discretionary compensation by up to 20%, insiders told Bloomberg News.
* Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen Girozentrale, or Helaba, will begin talks with DekaBank Deutsche Girozentrale about combining into a "powerful central institution" within Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe, or German Savings Banks Association. Meanwhile, Thomas Groß, vice chairman of Helaba's board of managing directors responsible for risk and cash management and digital strategy, has been appointed the bank's new CEO, succeeding Herbert Hans Grüntker who retires, effective June 1, 2020.
* Germany-based BayernLB Holding AG is expected to announce a new cost-cutting program later this week, as it seeks to mitigate the negative effects of the low rate environment, Börsen-Zeitung reported.
* Julius Bär Gruppe AG is planning "substantial" job cuts of about 5% to 10% of its currently 6,768 employees as a result of its annual strategy review that is expected to be completed in January 2020, finews.ch reported.
* Meanwhile, Swiss wealth management firm EFG International AG dismissed media reports about a potential acquisition by Julius Bär, saying that no discussions have taken place regarding the matter and that EFG will keep focusing on its own growth strategy.
* UBS Group AG is restructuring its wealth management division in the U.S., Advisor Hub wrote.
FRANCE AND BENELUX
* French banks have acknowledged recommendations from the country's High Council for Financial Stability to address overheating of the real estate market, according to Les Echos.
* Axa SA completed the acquisition of the remaining 50% stake in Axa Tianping Property & Casualty Insurance Co. Ltd. from its domestic shareholders, making it the largest 100% foreign-owned P&C insurer in the Chinese market, according to L'Agefi. This acquisition amounted to €590 million.
* Dutch online broker Degiro BV was bought by German rival Flatex for €250 million as the market for online stockbroking consolidates, Het Financieele Dagblad reported.
* Achmea Bank NV named Mark Geubbels CFO and chief risk officer, effective today.
SPAIN AND PORTUGAL
* Spanish insurance firm Mapfre SA said it expects to incur an impact of between €130 million and €140 million on its attributable result, mainly in the reinsurance business, due to typhoons that occurred in Japan in September and October, as well as damages from the recent Chilean riots.
* Banca March SA and SYZ Asset Management, the asset manager of Switzerland's Banque SYZ SA, launched a new fund that will invest in financial vehicles that are focused on alternative assets, Europa Press reported.
ITALY AND GREECE
* The Italian government approved a capital injection of up to €900 million for struggling lender Banca Popolare di Bari SCpA after the Bank of Italy placed it under special administration, Reuters reported. Popolare di Bari will use €500 million of the cash to shore up its financial strength, while the remaining funds will be reserved for future requirements.
* Italian payment services provider SIA SpA, controlled by Cassa depositi e prestiti SpA, is considering a plan to buy Borsa Italiana SpA from the London Stock Exchange Group PLC as part of a deal that could be worth at least €2 billion, said Il Sole 24 Ore, adding that SIA was already in talks to buy a stake in the MTS bond trading platform. It comes as Mercury UK Holdco Ltd., which owns a majority stake in Italy-based payments company Nexi SpA, said it was in preliminary discussions with SIA over a potential tie-up, but that the talks never progressed, Reuters reported. LSEG chief executive David Schwimmer wrote to employees of Borsa Italiana to reassure them that the group would remain committed to the Milan exchange no matter the outcome of Brexit negotiations, said Il Messaggero.
* The Swedish central bank said it will use the ECB's Threat Intelligence-based Ethical Red Teaming framework that is designed to test the resilience of financial institutions to cyber risks. The regulator also noted that it intends to sign a deal with consulting company Accenture to establish a pilot platform for the function of a digital currency known as e-krona. The assignment will run to Dec. 31, 2020, with a possibility for an extension.
* Klarna Bank AB (publ) CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski told Bloomberg that the Swedish financial technology unicorn will likely conduct an IPO in the U.S. due to the country's "bigger understanding of technology companies" and because it might be its "biggest market in one or two years."
* The Russian central bank reduced its key rate by 25 basis points to 6.25%, delivering its fifth rate cut in a row, as a slowdown in consumer price growth continued to overshoot projections.
* Russia's State Duma passed on the second reading a bill that is supposed to make it easier for the central bank to sell bailed-out lenders on the market, RBC reported. The third reading of the bill is scheduled for Dec. 17.
* Poland's Financial Stability Committee said recommends keeping the countercyclical buffer for banks at zero percent. The committee also noted that the difficult financial situation of several financial institutions and the possibility of their problems affecting other market participants remains the key risk for the banking sector in Poland.
* Moneta Money Bank a.s. CEO Tomáš Spurný said the bank's purchase of Wüstenrot & Württembergische AG's Czech subsidiaries could generate an after-tax gain of 500 million Czech koruny, but integration costs and accounting adjustments could offset that gain, Reuters reported.
* Czech banks and insurance companies are resilient and have sufficient capital and solvency levels to withstand adverse economic conditions, the Czech central bank said following the latest stress tests of the country's financial sector.
* S&P Global Ratings upgraded its long-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on Serbia to BB+ from BB, citing the country's robust exports and investment-driven economic expansion.
* The Central Bank of Azerbaijan reduced its refinancing rate to 7.50% from 7.75%, Reuters reported.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: Ant Financial, Vanguard in China retail JV; Thai bank eyes SE Asia expansion
Middle East & Africa: National Bank of Oman to exit Egypt; Fitch revises outlook on Cabo Verde
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Sheryl Obejera, Arno Maierbrugger, Danielle Rossingh, Esben Svendsen, Beata Fojcik, Heather O'Brian, Stephanie Salti, Sophie Davies and Helen Popper contributed to this report.
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