* JPMorgan Chase & Co. is set to become the first foreign-owned bank to hold a majority stake in a Chinese mutual fund business after its reported acquisition of an additional 2% stake in China International Fund Management, Reuters reported, citing sources. JPMorgan, which owns 49% of the venture, is believed to be the sole buyer of shares sold during an auction at the Shanghai United Assets and Equity Exchange.
* The Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges are seeking public feedback on new rules that would allow Chinese investors to trade stocks listed in Hong Kong via the bourses' stock connect schemes. This would mark the first time that Hong Kong-listed companies with weighted voting rights will be accessible to traders in China.
* Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. will include all equities and funds traded on the Hong Kong stock exchange in its Closing Auction Session, beginning Oct. 8. CAS is a trading mechanism that allows execution at securities' closing prices, the bourse operator said.
JAPAN AND KOREA
* S&P Global Ratings changed Japan's classification to Group 3 from Group 2 under the Banking Industry Country Risk Assessment after raising the country's industry risk score to 4. The agency said Japanese banks face a higher industry risk than peers because of the country's fragmented market and low profitability, and expects the negative interest rate in Japan to keep companies' profitability flat.
* Japan's Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission has recommended sanctions against Tokyo-based brokerage Togo Securities Co. Ltd. after the agency found that the firm illegally compensated clients for currency investment losses.
* KDB Life Insurance Co. Ltd. is fleshing out a new plan to find a buyer after three unsuccessful attempts to sell itself, The Korea Economic Daily reported. Korea Development Bank said it is committed to divest its life insurance unit within the year.
* Malaysian bank CIMB Group Holdings Bhd. has shuttered its investment banking business in Hong Kong, and will instead rely on its collaboration with China Galaxy International Financial Holdings Ltd. for its investment banking business in North Asia amid tough competition in the market, Reuters reported, citing CIMB Investment Bank Bhd. CEO Jefferi Hashim.
* PT Bank CIMB Niaga Tbk will issue 2 trillion rupiah of sukuk, or Islamic bonds, as part of a continuous public offering targeting 4 trillion rupiah in funds, Bisnis Indonesia reported.
* The Indonesia Stock Exchange is looking to launch a special board in the fourth quarter that would tailor to small and midsize enterprises, The Jakarta Post reported, citing bourse officials. The move is part of efforts to encourage SMEs to conduct IPOs to raise funds.
* The Securities and Exchange Commission of Thailand said it has launched SEC Check First, a smartphone app that allows users looking to invest to search for relevant details prior to making a decision.
* Thailand's Securities and Exchange Commission appointed six governors to the board of the Stock Exchange of Thailand, the commission said in a release. The appointees will serve three-year terms from Aug. 5.
* The Reserve Bank of India penalized seven local banks for noncompliance with certain provisions. The banks are Allahabad Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, Bank of Baroda, Bank of India, Indian Overseas Bank, Union Bank of India, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Corporation Bank and Swarna Bharathi Sahakara Bank Niyamitha.
* The central bank also fined a number of other Indian banks for delays in reporting fraud, including those related to now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines. The banks include State Bank of India, Punjab & Sind Bank and United Bank of India.
* Separately, the RBI issued a new mandate prohibiting directors of public sector banks from holding a similar role in another financial company or in the central bank. The list of new guidelines also bars directors from holding offices in the government.
* Punjab and Sind Bank declared 404.9 million Indian rupees of loans issued to Fairdeal Supplies Ltd. as fraud and reported the same to the central bank.
* State Bank of India's Shanghai branch became the first Indian bank to connect to China's National Advance Payment System, which allows the lender to provide real-time settlement services for yuan payments in China, the Press Trust of India reported, citing K Swaminathan, CEO of the bank's Shanghai operations.
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
* IOOF Holdings Ltd.'s plan to acquire Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd.'s pensions business faces a roadblock after the bank declined to approve the deal by its July 5 deadline, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. ANZ was said to have serious concerns about IOOF's ability to act in the interest of the pension fund's members after an inquiry into the financial system revealed alleged misconduct in the company. The lack of approval from ANZ also means that the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority would now have the power to veto the deal under new rules.
* Commonwealth Bank of Australia shareholders expect a potential share buyback or special dividend when the bank reports its full-year earnings results Aug. 7, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. This is despite analysts' expectations of a decline in profit to A$8.6 billion from A$9.2 billion in the previous year due to compensation and compliance costs.
* Australian hedge fund manager VGI Partners Asian Investments Ltd. is set to launch a A$1 billion capital raising for a new Asian equities listed investment company, The Australian Financial Review's Street Talk blog reported, citing broker sources.
R Sio, Jonathan Cheah, Jaekwon Lim and Santibhap Ussavasodhi contributed to this report.
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Descriptions of credit ratings in this news article were not prepared by S&P Global Ratings. The original S&P Global Ratings document referred to in this news brief can be found here.