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Bangladesh bourse picks Chinese bid; National Australia Bank to cut 1,000 jobs

GREATER CHINA

* The board of Dhaka Stock Exchange Ltd. unanimously agreed to sell a 25% stake to China's Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges, which made a joint bid of 22 taka per share, or US$119 million, and offered technical support worth nearly US$37 million, The Nikkei reported, citing Abul Hashem, chairman of the bourse. The potential deal is subject to regulatory approvals.

* Namibia's Bank Windhoek Ltd. has begun trading Chinese yuan notes as part of efforts to boost business with the Chinese community in the southern African country, Xinhua News Agency reported. The bank will exchange yuan-denominated notes with no additional fees at its branches.

* A total of 22,883 private equity fund managers managed 11.76 trillion yuan worth of private equity funds in China as of the end of January, Xinhua News Agency reported.

* In a bid to counter the mounting debt of local governments, the China Insurance Regulatory Commission urged insurance funds to refrain from giving them "covert funding," Caixin reported, citing CIRC Deputy Chairman Chen Wenhui. Local governments have reportedly hidden their accumulating debt using questionable financing methods, the publication noted.

JAPAN AND KOREA

* Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Asset Management Co. Ltd. has acquired about US$20.1 million worth of 20,683 additional shares in Alphabet Inc., Holdings Channel reported. The U.S.-based company accounts for 3.1% of the Japanese asset manager's holdings.

* South Korea's four largest commercial banks have cut 2,400 jobs through high-cost early retirement schemes since the second half of 2017, The Chosun Ilbo reported. The combined cost of compensation for employees taking early retirement offers has reached 800 billion won at Shinhan Bank Co. Ltd., KB Kookmin Bank, KEB Hana Bank and Woori Bank.

* South Korea's Financial Services Commission plans to revise the Act on Corporate Governance of Financial Companies to require financial institutions to get outside director nomination recommendations from an independent third-party organization, The Financial News reported.

* Korea Development Bank will once again place Daewoo Engineering & Construction Co. Ltd. on the sale block following a debt restructuring program that began in 2010, Yonhap News Agency reported, citing an official from the bank. A fund managed by the state-run creditor holds a 50.75% stake in the construction company, which expires in July 2019.

ASEAN

* The Bank of Thailand has revised guidelines for banks' service channels, including regulations for banking agents, which are expected to take effect in March, Daily News reported. Under the revised rules, withdrawals for each customer made through a banking agent must not exceed 5,000 baht per transaction or 20,000 baht per day.

* Bosowa Corp. is considering selling 30% of its shares in PT Bank Bukopin Tbk, Bisnis Indonesia reported.

* Singapore Exchange Ltd. is planning to launch new Indian equity index derivatives before the bourse's deal with National Stock Exchange of India Ltd. ends in August, Reuters reported.

* Union Bank of the Philippines asked its customers to switch to EMV chip-enabled cards, adding that magnetic stripe cards previously issued by the lender will be deactivated by March 31, BusinessWorld reported. The move is in accordance with the industry's migration to microchip-based bank cards.

* The planned listing of nine commercial banks in 2018, including Vietnam Technological and Commercial Joint Stock Bank, is expected to boost the country's banking sector, Viet Nam News reported, citing BIDV Securities Co. The lenders' planned listing is likely to attract industry investments, the brokerage company noted.

SOUTH ASIA

* Bangladesh's National Board of Revenue claimed that a number of insurance companies, including Reliance Insurance Ltd., are using methods to avoid paying value-added tax, the Dhaka Tribune reported, citing sources at the board. An internal audit by NBR's large taxpayers unit found acts of tax evasion amounting to 43.7 million taka by seven insurance companies in the last four years.

* India's Central Bureau of Investigation has sealed off Punjab National Bank's branch in Mumbai and prohibited the public from entering the outlet after US$1.77 billion worth of fraudulent transactions was uncovered by the lender, Indo-Asian News Service reported.

* The Indian government is looking to tighten guidelines for hiring statutory auditors at public sector banks to detect irregularities at the initial appointment process and take corrective action, Press Trust of India reported, citing a government official.

* Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC unit CBC Myanmar Microfinance Co. Ltd. has obtained a license to commence operations in Myanmar as a nonsaving deposit organization, the bank said in a bourse filing.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* National Australia Bank Ltd. is set to lay off 1,000 employees as part of a plan to slash up to 6,000 jobs over three years while strengthening its workforce with 2,000 technology specialists, The Australian Financial Review reported. NAB is moving ahead with its cost-cutting plans to simplify the bank's operations.

* ANZ Bank New Zealand Ltd. and Westpac New Zealand Ltd. said they will stop charging fees to customers who transact at ATMs operated by other lenders, effective March 26, The New Zealand Herald reported.

* Meanwhile, New Zealand-based ASB Bank Ltd. will also stop charging fees to customers using other banks' ATMs, effective March 31, Scoop reported.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Middle East & Africa: Israel sets rules for credit card company buyers; Barclays Africa wins case

Europe: Euronext FY'17 profit up 22.5%; Saga names new chairman; Fitch upgrades Greece

Latin America: Banrisul Q4'17 earnings spike; Rio under army control

R Sio, Sally Wang, Jonathan Cheah, Jaekwon Lim and Santibhap Ussavasodhi contributed to this report.

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