UK AND IRELAND
* British lawmakers criticized a proposed anti-money laundering bill for not doing enough to force foreign investors to disclose their interests in the U.K., Bloomberg News reported. Although there is nothing "fundamentally wrong" with the bill, Edward Faulks, chairman of the committee that examined the bill, said lawmakers want it tightened.
* Vernon Hill, founder and chairman of U.K.-based Metro Bank PLC, said he is "committed to the future" of the embattled challenger bank despite calls for him to step down, The Sunday Times reported. Major shareholder Legal and General Investment Management said it will vote against Hill's reelection ahead of the bank's annual general meeting tomorrow.
* U.K. lenders Barclays PLC and Co-operative Bank PLC commenced merger talks in November last year but the discussions did not progress beyond an exploratory stage, The Sunday Telegraph reported.
* Thirteen Lloyd's of London syndicates have agreed to pay $22 million to settle a long-running dispute in the U.S. over alleged price manipulation, according to a document seen by The Sunday Times. About 10 syndicates have yet to settle and remain exposed to the legal action.
* Irish Life Group Ltd. plans to double its retail investment operation to €10 billion over the next five years, CEO David Harney told the Sunday Independent.
* Middle-market investor Bowmark Capital LLP will exit U.K.-based independent chartered insurance broker Aston Lark Ltd. and sell it to the merchant banking division of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., subject to regulatory and antitrust approvals.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA
* Germany's banking sector should step up their restructuring efforts to bolster profitability and resilience, according to a report by the IMF. Although the sector is well capitalized in risk-weighted terms, the IMF noted that large lenders could underperform compared to their European peers, which reflects high costs, operating weakness and provisions for compliance violations.
* Executives at Deutsche Bank AG refused to report to authorities multiple transactions involving legal entities controlled by U.S. President Donald Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner that triggered alerts for suspicious activities, five current and former employees of the German lender told The New York Times. The move is reportedly part of the bank's lax approach to money laundering regulations, and forms part of a pattern of the bank's bosses rejecting valid reports to protect relationships with lucrative clients. Deutsche Bank denied the report, Reuters noted.
* Approximately 66% of Swiss voters overwhelmingly approved a plan to overhaul the country's corporate tax system. The tax reform plan reportedly eliminates some special tax breaks afforded to multinational companies and replaces them with deductions on profit from patents and R&D expenses.
* Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz called for new elections to be held after announcing the end of a governing coalition with the country's nationalist Freedom Party. This follows the release of a video reportedly showing party member Heinz-Christian Strache offering potential government contracts to a Russian woman in exchange for purchasing an Austrian newspaper that would support the party.
* Austrian asset management firm C-Quadrat Investment AG confirmed a Wall Street Journal report saying that Chinese conglomerate HNA Group Co Ltd. will sell its stake in C-Quadrat. Alexander Schütz, C-Quadrat's founder and CEO, and board member Cristobal Mendez de Vigo will buy HNA's 74% stake.The deal will not change anything for Deutsche Bank in which HNA through a C-Quadrat fund held a stake, Handelsblatt cited insiders, adding that C-Quadrat will continue to manage the investment and that Schütz will remain a member of Deutsche Bank's supervisory board.
* Deutsche Börse AG announced that its post-trade services provider Clearstream Holding AG is considering entering the Australian market with the acquisition of Ausmaq Ltd., the managed funds services business of National Australia Bank Ltd.
FRANCE AND BENELUX
* French banks's contributions to the Single Resolution Fund have increased to €2.42 billion in 2019, compared to €2.29 billion in 2018, according to L'Agefi. This amount represent 31% of the total collected by the SRF, which was created to ensure that the financial industry as a whole finances the stabilization of the financial system.
* The French constitutional council has ruled out the inclusion of the reform of the insurance brokerage industry in a bill designed to reform the economy and simplify companies' day-to-day operations, Les Echos wrote.
* Vivat NV's customers will not be worse off if the insurer gets taken over by Dutch rival Aegon NV and private equity partner Blackstone, Aegon CEO Alex Wynaendts told Het Financieele Dagblad. "We want to treat all Vivat customers the same way we treat Aegon customers," said Wynaendts, who confirmed Aegon's intention to buy parts of Vivat for the first time.
SPAIN AND PORTUGAL
* Portuguese lender Novo Banco SA swung to a net loss attributable to shareholders of €93.1 million in the first quarter from an income of €70.4 million a year ago. Operating costs rose year over year to €272.1 million from €159.7 million.
* Spain's central bank has imposed two fines on Banco Santander SA for a total of €6.4 million and another two totaling €1.5 million Unicaja Banco SA, Europa Press reported. The Santander fines were for a serious infraction related to commissions for early repayment while the Unicaja fines were mainly for illegally charging commissions for issuing bank documentation proving payment of a loan.
ITALY AND GREECE
* The ECB has given Italy's Banca Carige SpA about a month to find a new buyer after U.S. asset manager BlackRock Inc. withdrew its takeover bid, an unnamed source told Reuters. However, a second source said the bank's temporary administrators had been given only a few more days when the deadline lapsed last Friday without solution.
* Vittorio Malacalza, the biggest shareholder of Banca Carige, reiterated that he is in favor of an industrial solution for the rescue of the Genoa-based lender, Il Sole 24 Ore reported. Meanwhile, the 5 Star Movement, part of the government coalition, said an intervention by the State in the rescue of Banca Carige is not on the agenda, Corriere della Sera wrote.
* Italy's central bank intends to adopt an investment scheme under which companies that act against climate change will be rewarded, Reuters noted. The criteria will apply by June-end to the regulator's shareholdings of around €8 billion, after which they will be extended to the central bank's corporate bond holdings of €1 billion.
* National Bank of Greece SA CEO Paul Mylonas said the lender plans to securitize some €3 billion of nonperforming loans by 2022 and trim its NPL ratio down to roughly 5% from 41% at 2018-end, Reuters reported. For this year, the bank aims to sell three portfolios of soured loans. Mylonas also said the bank will start talks with potential investors for its wholly owned insurance subsidiary, with the aim of selling the unit by 2020.
* Several hundred million Danish kroner have passed through Nordea and Jyske Bank in connection with a global VAT fraud case that is being investigated in several countries, Finans reported. In Nordea alone, a currency exchange office sent 351 million Danish kroner through the bank on behalf of other exchange offices.
* Jan Sinclair has been appointed chairman of the Swedish government-owned mortgage lender SBAB, Affärsvärlden reported. Sinclair has been a board member since February 2018. He replaces Bo Magnusson, who is stepping down due to his appointment as vice chair of Swedbank's board.
* A Russian arbitration court instructed Public Stock Co. Orient Express Bank majority shareholder Baring Vostok Capital Partners Ltd. to sell a 9.99% stake in the Russian lender to minority shareholder Finvision. Baring Vostok said it plans to appeal the decision.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: China probes ex-financial regulator; Nippon Life eyes stake in asset manager
Middle East & Africa: UAE, Oman remain on EU tax haven blacklist; Saudi central bank fines 16 firms
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Sheryl Obejera, Arno Maierbrugger, Danielle Rossingh, Esben Svendsen, Yael Schrage, Stephanie Salti, Sophie Davies and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.
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