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Barclays execs' 'misleading audit trail;' Deutsche to end Malta relationships


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Barclays execs' 'misleading audit trail;' Deutsche to end Malta relationships

* Facebook Inc.'s initiative to launch a digital coin may be in jeopardy as more major backers pull out from the project. Visa, Mastercard, Stripe and eBay will step back from the Libra initiative, Facebook's digital coin that it intended to launch in 2020. The companies follow just one week after PayPal Holdings left the project.

* The EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, said U.K. plans to resolve the customs arrangements on the island of Ireland were unacceptable, BBC News reported. The U.K. and the EU teams are due to meet again in Brussels today.


* Former Barclays PLC executives Roger Jenkins and Richard Boath created a "misleading audit trail" to hide the fact that Qatari investors were paid more than other investors for a capital raise at the height of the 2008 financial crisis, according to prosecutors at a London court, the Financial Times reported.

* British asset manager Man Group Ltd. recorded funds under management of $112.7 billion for the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared to $114.4 billion at June-end. The decrease was driven by net outflows of $1.1 billion, comprising sales of $6.6 billion and redemptions of $7.7 billion, and negative foreign exchange and other movements of $1.3 billion.

* Revolut Ltd. is attempting to raise $1.5 billion, $500 million through an equity raising and $1 billion through the issuance of convertible loan, insiders told Sky News. The U.K.-based financial technology firm has hired investment bank JPMorgan for the capital raise.

* U.K.-based HSBC Holdings PLC is planning to restructure its online and telephone banking business, First Direct, the Financial Times reported. The bank will make a string of changes in the coming 12 months with a view to attract younger customers and compete with digital rivals.

* The U.K.'s Financial Conduct Authority is reviewing allegations of precious metals market manipulation by certain JPMorgan traders following a U.S. probe on a similar matter. JPMorgan is under investigation for alleged "spoofing," or rigging the metals market by creating false demand to reap more benefits.

* London Stock Exchange Group PLC will toughen standards around ecofriendly green bonds listed on its market, with companies requiring to submit annual verified reports on how the proceeds of such bonds are used, the Financial Times reported. The move comes in the wake of rising competition among exchanges in the sustainable finance industry.

* Coventry Building Society CEO Mark Parsons confirmed his decision to retire. Parsons will continue in the role while the board concludes its process to appoint his successor.

* The Central Bank of Ireland said that a no-deal Brexit on Oct. 31 would affect about 73,000 jobs in the country by the end of 2021 and adversely impact economic growth due to significant disruption to economic activity.

* Ireland-based AIB Group PLC will cut 1,000 jobs by 2022-end as part of a three-year strategy, the Sunday Independent reported, citing CEO Colin Hunt. Also, the bank is seeking regulatory approval to return excess capital to shareholders in 2020.

* Advisers at U.K.-based asset manager St. James's Place PLC, who used to be rewarded with a luxury cruise for performance but had the benefit axed after an investigation into bonuses, have threatened to stop selling investments for the remainder of 2019 unless they are compensated for the loss, The Sunday Times reported.


* Deutsche Bank AG will terminate correspondent banking services in all currencies to financial institutions in Malta by the end of December, after the country failed to meet the standards of the Council of Europe's anti-money laundering body to efficiently combat financial crime, Times of Malta wrote.

* Credit Suisse Group AG's largest shareholder has said the recent spying scandal story at the bank was "completely exaggerated," and reiterated support for the bank's management, Bloomberg News reported.

* Deutsche Bank is selling its 7% stake in Turquoise Trading Ltd., a European equities and derivatives trading platform majority-owned by London Stock Exchange Group, as part of the revamp of its equities sales and trading business division, Financial News wrote.

* Commerzbank AG launched the first Russian-German financing project for import and export transactions via the trade finance platform Marco Polo, a network that uses distributed ledger technology, or blockchain, operated by Irish software company TradeIX Ltd., Börsen-Zeitung wrote.

* Commerzbank is sounding out possible buyers for the sale of its 69.3% stake in Poland-based mBank SA, insiders told Reuters. There was interest in buying the stake from Poland and beyond, and a formal process could start in 2019 or in early 2020.

* MERKUR BANK KGaA said it has finalized the acquisition of Bank Schilling & Co. AG, integrated most of the latter's business units, and expects to increase earnings "significantly" this year.

* Swiss fintech Crypto Real Estate AG, which specialized in cryptocurrency-backed property financing using SwissRealCoin, a security token linked to a portfolio of Swiss commercial real estate, has closed down business after failing to secure a license from Swiss financial market regulator Finma, founder Brigitte Luginbühl told Finews.

* Schwyzer Kantonalbank is resuming business with external asset managers with a focus on German-speaking Switzerland after it withdrew from the market in 2014 owing to increasing regulation, as it is now better able to screen the tax transparency of clients, the bank's head of private banking, Nicole Reinhard, told Finews.


* The Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets appointed Laura van Geest as chair of the executive board, succeeding Merel van Vroonhoven from Feb. 1, Het Financieele Dagblad reported.

* French insurer AXA SA said it is looking at opportunities to grow in Spain, although not at any price, and that it is open to studying more banking alliances following its recent one with MyInvestor, the fully digital subsidiary of Andbank, reported Expansión.


* Portugal's Caixa Geral de Depósitos SA and Novo Banco SA are in exclusive negotiations with Spain's Trablisa to sell Esegur, the security company they inherited following the collapse of Banco Espírito Santo SA, Jornal Económico reported. CGD holds a 50% stake in the company, while Novo Banco has 44%. The newspaper said the sale was expected to be completed in the coming weeks.

* The Portuguese unit of Zurich Insurance Group AG said it has appealed against a sanction by the country's antitrust regulator for cartel behavior including price-setting with leading competitors, the official Lusa news agency reported, citing a statement by the insurance company. The regulator announced in August the findings of an investigation into a suspected insurance industry cartel and ordered rival Companhia de Seguros Lusitânia SA and Zurich to pay a 42 million fine.

* Spain's Banco Santander SA has hired a World Bank expert, Josep Julià, as a senior adviser to help it reduce its bad loan portfolio. The bank wants to speed up cleaning up its balance sheet in the coming months, and Julià is a renowned expert in the field.

* António Varela has resigned as chairman of the supervisory board at Portuguese rural savings bank Caixa Central de Crédito Agrícola Mútuo, Jornal Económico reported. Varela was elected to the post in May to serve until 2021 but the central bank expressed concern about his appointment to the post due to a possible conflict of interest linked to his investments.


* Fitch Ratings affirmed Cyprus' long-term issuer default ratings at BBB- and revised the outlook to positive from stable, citing the island's strong fiscal position and solid economic growth.

* Italy could issue another U.S. dollar-denominated sovereign fixed rate BTP bond next year after demand for the a recent one received offers for 2.5x the amount being sold, Davide Iacovone, director general of public debt at the finance ministry told Milano Finanza.

* Italian payments firm Nexi SpA sealed the sale of €825 million worth of bonds paying a half-year coupon of 1.75%, Il Sole 24 Ore reported.

* Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA is in talks to sell some €12 billion in bad loans to Amco, formerly Società Gestioni Attivi, Affari & Finanza wrote. The newspaper said that before a potential merger that would allow the state to exit from Monte dei Paschi's share capital, the bank has to resolve the problem of €13.9 of nonperforming exposures and solve legal disputes.

* A potential merger between Banco BPM SpA and Unione di Banche Italiane SpA would entail such a delay in provision for risks that would trigger the need for a capital increase of €2.5 billion to €3.6 billion, L'Economia wrote.


* Danish lenders Djurslands Bank A/S and Salling Bank A/S have upgraded their third quarter 2019 income and profit expectations, on the back of increased activity by customers to move mortgages to fixed interest and longer-term products, Børsen reported.


* Poland's ruling party Law and Justice is on track for victory in parliamentary elections in Poland, having secured 45.81% of votes, news agency PAP said, citing the latest available results. The country's biggest opposition group, Civic Coalition, came in second with 25.46% of votes.

* The dispute surrounding the nationalization of JSC CB PRIVATBANK has led to Ukraine's discussions with the IMF for a loan program to stall, Reuters reported, citing deputy central bank governor Kateryna Rozhkova.

* The Russian Economic Development Ministry put forward a proposal under which the central bank would not be allowed to own bailed-out financial institutions for longer than five years, Vedomosti reported. The central bank criticized the idea, arguing that the rushed sale of bailed-out banks would make it difficult to retrieve funds spent by the state on rescuing problem lenders.

* The Russian central bank decided to backtrack on its earlier legislative plans and is ready to maintain the right for local nonqualified investors to purchase securities issued by foreign companies, RBC wrote. The regulator also plans to increase financial limits on risky investments for nonqualified investors, the newswire noted.

* VTB Bank PJSC confirmed its plans to earmark 50% of its 2019 profit calculated under international financial reporting standards for dividend payouts, news agency Prime said, citing the lender. For 2018, VTB earmarked 15% of its IFRS net profit for dividend payments.

* Bulgaria's Financial Supervision Commission gave the green light for Groupama Group unit Groupama Zhivotozastrahovane EAD to acquire a 100% stake in Express Life Insurance from OTP Bank Nyrt.'s local unit, SEENews reported.

* S&P Global Ratings upgraded Georgia's long-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings to BB from BB-, citing the country's improved economic resilience in recent years despite tough external conditions.


Asia-Pacific: China to scrap foreign ownership caps in 2020; Australia to probe big 4 banks

Middle East & Africa: Standard Bank, Stanlib merge index-tracking arms; Equity Bank taking over loans

Latin America: BBVA backpedals on FORUM sale; Peru holds key rate at 2.5%


Tough conditions pushing reinsurers toward electronic trading: A combination of difficult market conditions, better technology and changing attitudes could give a new breed of reinsurance trading platforms a better chance of survival than their predecessors.

European banking union needs to address fragmentation, not deposit scheme: Completion of a long-delayed European banking union should concentrate on reducing fragmentation in the financial sector so it can attract fresh capital to Europe, not on finalizing a controversial deposit scheme, according to UniCredit's CEO.

Ben Meggeson, Arno Maierbrugger, Danielle Rossingh, Gerard O'Dwyer, Beata Fojcik, Yael Schrage, Stephanie Salti, Sophie Davies and Helen Popper contributed to this report.

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This S&P Global Market Intelligence news article may contain information about credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings. Descriptions in this news article were not prepared by S&P Global Ratings.