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Philippines cuts rates; APRA fines Westpac; AMP overhaul faces opposition

GREATER CHINA

* Central Huijin Investment Ltd. will make a strategic investment in HENGFENG BANK CO. Ltd. as part of a market-oriented restructuring process led by the government of China's Shandong province, Shanghai Securities News reported. The move is expected to boost the bank's capital adequacy ratio and improve governance.

* Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. obtained approval from the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission and the People's Bank of China to issue no more than 120 billion yuan of capital bonds without fixed terms.

* CITIC Capital, the alternative investment arm of CITIC Group Corp., has raised US$2.8 billion in its fourth China buyout fund, Reuters reported. The Hong Kong-based wealth management group now manages over US$26 billion in assets with the new fund.

* The China Securities Regulatory Commission said there is no immediate plan to fully open stock-index futures trading to foreign investors in a response to a Bloomberg News report that said the regulator is considering a market overhaul that would allow foreign trades without a government-approved quota, Caixin reported. China currently allows foreign investors to trade the stock-index futures via its qualified foreign institutional investor program and renminbi its qualified foreign institutional investor program.

JAPAN AND KOREA

* Shizuoka Yaizu Shinkin Bank., created in July from a merger between two shinkin banks, will merge two leasing units by Oct. 15, Tokyo's The Nikkei reported.

* kabu.com Securities Co. Ltd. shareholders approved a reverse stock split that would combine 19,603,032 common shares into one common share, effective Sept. 2. As a result, the number of kabu.com's outstanding shares will be reduced to 17 from 333,251,544.

* Japan Exchange Group Inc. announced the delisting of kabu.com Securities following the online brokerage's reverse stock split decision to eliminate outstanding shares.

* South Korea's Viva Republica Co Ltd., which operates the Toss mobile peer-to-peer payment platform, received US$64 million of additional funding from investors including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Aspex Management (HK) Ltd., Money Today reported.

ASEAN

* Toronto-based Bank of Nova Scotia agreed to cut its stake in Thailand's Thanachart Bank PCL in exchange for cash and shares in TMB Bank PCL. The Thai banks in February signed an agreement to merge, and total consideration is expected to be up to 140 billion baht. ING Groep NV also entered into a separate agreement in relation with the deal, under which it will own a majority stake in the combined company.

* Bank of Ayudhya PCL's board approved the decision to purchase a 50% stake in Manila-based SB Finance Co. Inc. for about 1.83 billion Philippine pesos, Bangkok Post reported. The transaction is expected to be completed within the fourth quarter.

* The Philippine central bank is the latest to join an easing monetary policy spree in Asia, reducing its key interest rate amid easing price pressures while hinting at another rate cut in the future. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas cut the interest rate on the overnight reverse repurchase facility by 25 basis points to 4.25%.

* Philippines-based China Banking Corp. said its consolidated profit for the first half rose 18% year over year to 4.2 billion pesos. Net interest income grew 6% to 11.7 billion pesos, driven by double-digit growth in loans and securities.

SOUTH ASIA

* Indian lender Dewan Housing Finance Corp. Ltd. warned that it may not meet debt repayment obligations in the "immediate future" as it works out a resolution plan with its creditors. The nonbanking financial company earlier proposed to apply a moratorium on repayments and seek funding from banks as part of its resolution plan. It owes about 1 trillion Indian rupees of debt, including 380 billion rupees owed to banks.

* Reliance Capital Ltd. said its joint auditors confirmed that there were no violations relating to fraud within the company as alleged by its previous auditor Price Waterhouse & Co. Chartered Accountants LLP. The company added that an in-depth examination conducted by legal experts found no issues within its balance sheet. PWC resigned as the company's auditor in June over certain transactions.

* India's Yes Bank Ltd. has set a floor price of 87.9 rupees per share for an offering of shares to qualified institutional investors. The bank did not indicate how much it plans to raise from the offering, but a person aware of the development told Mint that the bank is looking to raise about 20 billion rupees.

* State Bank of India said it extended the term of Managing Director Dinesh Kumar Khara for two more years, effective Aug. 9.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority fined Westpac Banking Corp. and units St. George Finance Holdings Ltd. and Capital Finance Australia Ltd. a combined A$1.5 million for missing deadlines in filing economic data. APRA said the fines were the maximum penalty for infringement notices under the financial sector collection of data act, as it aims to "send a strong message to industry" that compliance with reporting standards is mandatory.

* AMP Ltd.'s plan to cut down the number its financial advisers under a strategy to overhaul its wealth business may face industry backlash and legal action, The Sydney Morning Herald reported, citing the heads of two financial planning organizations. The plan will likely affect more than 2,000 advisers, who will be paid to buy back their client books under the company's buyer of last resort program.

* Investors are betting that Australia's central bank will keep interest rates at an ultra-low level in the next 10 years, and could further cut rates to below 0.5% within six months, The Australian reported. The Reserve Bank of Australia, which left the cash rate at a record low of 1.00% in August, reiterated its willingness to ease policy further to curb unemployment and bring inflation closer to its target.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Middle East & Africa: Bank ABC sees Q2 profit dip; Investec's asset management spinoff set for Q1'20

Europe: Aviva, Zurich Insurance H1 profits up; RBI result down; former HSBC exec fined

Latin America: Banco do Brasil, Banco Macro Q2 profits jump; BBVA to sell Paraguay unit

North America: Hedge fund Hoplite to shut down; NYDFS leads probe on payroll advance sector

Global Insurance: Commercial insurance pricing up; Aviva reviewing Asia ops; Sampo investment plan

R Sio, Emily Lai, Jonathan Cheah, Jaekwon Lim and Santibhap Ussavasodhi contributed to this report.

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