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Shinhan Financial nears ING Life stake buy; Australia's FinClear eyes 2019 IPO

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Shinhan Financial nears ING Life stake buy; Australia's FinClear eyes 2019 IPO

GREATER CHINA

* The People's Bank of China extended 532 billion yuan to financial firms through its medium-term lending facility, or MLF, in August, Reuters reported, citing a statement on the central bank's website. The outstanding MLF was 5.118 trillion yuan at the end of August, up from 4.923 trillion yuan at the end of July. The central bank also lent 790 million yuan via its standing lending facility in August, according to a separate report from Reuters.

* Pang Xiusheng stepped down as executive director and executive vice president of China Construction Bank Corp., effective Sept. 3.

* Moody's Corp. lost its appeal over a penalty from Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission for a 2011 report that alleged corporate governance failings at certain Chinese companies, Reuters reported. The company was fined HK$23 million in 2014 after the report was found to have violated certain codes of conduct, including factual inaccuracies. The fine was later reduced to HK$11 million.

* Moody's said the outlook for Hong Kong's banking system remains stable as it expects steady economic growth to underpin a stable operating environment for local lenders over the next 12 to 18 months. The outlook is in line with the stable outlook on 16 out of 17 rated local banks, which constituted 69% of total domestic loans at the end of 2017, the rating agency added.

* OCBC Treasury Research said total loans and advances granted by Hong Kong-based banks increased 9.5% year over year to HK$9.77 trillion in July, the slowest growth since January 2017, Asian Banking & Finance reported. This comes amid fears of higher borrowing costs following the Hong Kong Monetary Authority's liquidity withdrawal and the U.S. Federal Reserve's gradual tightening.

JAPAN AND KOREA

* Japan-based Nomura Holdings Inc. appointed John Gousias to lead the brokerage's flow credit trading business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg News. Gousias joins from U.S.-based hedge fund Millennium Management LLC.

* South Korea's Shinhan Financial Group Co. Ltd. is in the final stages of negotiations with MBK Partners Ltd. to acquire a controlling stake in Orange Life Insurance Co., formerly known as ING Life Insurance Korea Ltd., Yonhap News Agency reported, citing an unnamed senior executive. MBK Partners reportedly wants Shinhan Financial to pay 2.3 trillion won for a 59.15% stake in the insurer. ING Life changed its name to Orange Life, effective Sept. 3.

* South Korea-based KB Financial Group Inc. is set to launch an asset management unit in Shanghai in the week of Sept. 10 through KB Asset Management Co. Ltd., The Korea Times reported, citing an industry source. The move is part of the group's efforts to strengthen its foothold overseas.

* The Korea Exchange said Mirae Asset Venture Investment Co. Ltd., a unit of Mirae Asset Daewoo Co. Ltd., filed an application to list shares on trading board KOSDAQ, Yonhap News Agency reported.

ASEAN

* UBS Group AG will tie up with the Monetary Authority of Singapore to roll out a new electronic currency pricing and trading engine in Singapore in the second quarter of 2019, Bloomberg News reported, citing an emailed statement from UBS. Anthony Hall, the group's head of foreign exchange, rates and credit in the Asia-Pacific region, said the engine will provide greater liquidity and increased efficiency in the foreign exchange markets.

* Swiss banking group Reyl & Cie Holding SA named Antoine Denaiffe CEO of Reyl Singapore Pte. Ltd., replacing Nicolas Duchêne, who is moving back to the bank's Geneva headquarters. Denaiffe joined Reyl Singapore in 2017.

* Data from the Singapore Department of Statistics and RHB Research showed that Singapore lending growth rose to 10% in July from 9.9% in June, supported by a slight increase in business loans, Asian Banking & Finance reported. Local lenders are expected to retain their strong lending momentum in the next quarters as the government's cooling measures are set to hit banks only by 2019, an earlier flash note from DBS showed.

* Thailand-based TQM Insurance Broker rolled out "TQM Blue Beary Bot," the company's 24-hour chat bot on its LINE Corp. official account, the country's Krungthep Turakij reported. The new chat bot will allow people to purchase insurance and compare related information or special offers through the popular chat app around the clock.

* Indonesia's PT Danadipa Artha bought 21% of the shares the Republic of Indonesia Employee Cooperative held in PT Bank Kesejahterahan Ekonomi, becoming the second biggest shareholder in the bank, Bisnis Indonesia reported.

* Bank Indonesia has placed an immediate 1 billion rupiah limit on foreign currency cash movement at border checkpoints unless approved by the regulator, Kompas reported.

* Small Medium Enterprise Development Bank Malaysia Bhd. appointed Aria Putera Ismail its CEO, effective Sept. 3. He was previously president director and CEO of PT Bank Maybank Syariah Indonesia.

SOUTH ASIA

* India-based Allahabad Bank expects to raise approximately 8 billion rupees through the divestment of its entire 28.52% stake in Universal Sompo General Insurance Co. Ltd., Business Standard reported, citing N. K. Sahoo, executive director of the lender. The bank also expects about 7 billion rupees from selling 12 properties and 300 million rupees from selling its stake in asset reconstruction firm ASREC (India) Ltd.

* The Reserve Bank of India asked all scheduled commercial banks, excluding regional rural banks, with more than 10 banking outlets to appoint an internal ombudsman, which will review customer complaints that were partially or wholly rejected by the respective banks. The central bank introduced the internal ombudsman scheme to strengthen the internal grievance of banks and ensure that customer complaints are addressed.

* Bangladesh Small Industries & Commerce Bank Ltd., or BASIC Bank, saw a loss of 366 million taka in the month of June as its classified loans in the first half stood at 2.39 billion taka, The Daily Star reported, citing data from the Bangladesh Bank. BASIC Bank made a profit of 246.8 million taka in December 2017, which plunged to 24.1 million taka in January.

* Bangladesh's central bank named Shah Alam independent chairman of century-old Jubilee Bank in line with an order from the High Court, The Daily Star reported. Alam is currently an executive director of the central bank's Sylhet office.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Australia-based equities clearing firm FinClear Pty. Ltd. is considering listing on the Australian Securities Exchange in 2019 as it agreed to purchase almost 100% of Dion Australia's core technology assets, The Australian Financial Review reported, citing FinClear Managing Director David Ferrall. The company would embark on a pre-IPO capital raising and tap existing backers to help fund the acquisition.

* Commonwealth Bank of Australia and National Australia Bank Ltd. both denied allegations that they engaged in criminal conduct in their dealings with their respective superannuation funds customers, The Sydney Morning Herald reported, citing hearings at the royal commission into the country's financial sector. CBA refuted a number of alleged legal breaches related to its superannuation business Colonial First State, and that it charged financial advice fees to dead people. Meanwhile, NAB argued that it did not owe its superannuation customers an "overarching obligation" to act in their interests.

* Westpac Banking Corp. has signed a referral agreement with Australian startup business loan broker Valiant Finance Pty. Ltd., under which Westpac will send customers it cannot bank to Valiant, which will evaluate options in the nonbank market through a panel of mutually agreed lenders, The Australian Financial Review reported. Valiant has created a panel of 70 lenders, including financial technology lenders Prospa Group Ltd. and Moula Money Pty. Ltd., with its platform overseeing the entire loan application process.

* National Australia Bank said NAB Financial Planning and NAB Direct Advice will stop accepting grandfathered commissions from NAB Wealth superannuation and investment product providers, effective Jan. 1, 2019. The lender said the move will benefit about 32,000 customers through fee rebates and reductions of about A$11 million.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Middle East & Africa: Old Mutual to enter South Africa's banking market; Oman Arab Bank names new CEO

Europe: Funding Circle plans £300M IPO; Wonga victims may not get paid

Latin America: S&P places Argentina on CreditWatch negative; Chile revises cybersecurity rules

Janna Estares, Sally Wang, Jonathan Cheah, Jaekwon Lim and Santibhap Ussavasodhi contributed to this report.

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