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EC antitrust raids; HSBC chooses new CEO; Deutsche Börse in euro-clearing push

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EC antitrust raids; HSBC chooses new CEO; Deutsche Börse in euro-clearing push

* EU regulators raided the offices of banking associations in various European countries, including the Netherlands and Poland, as it looks to prevent banks blocking fintech firms from accessing customer information, the Financial Times reported. The European Commission carried out unannounced inspections on Oct. 3, alleging that banks and the trade bodies may have acted in an anti-competitive way. Sources said the Netherlands and Poland were among the "few" countries where the raids happened.

* Europe's national regulators are at odds over whether to introduce tougher regulation of asset managers after Brexit, the Financial Times reported. France's financial watchdog is backing a proposal to give the European Securities and Markets Authority greater powers to closely scrutinize how national regulators apply rules around so-called delegation, while Luxembourg's regulator warned that such a move could cause irreversible damage to the bloc's position as a global hub for asset management.

* The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision is giving national banking regulators some leeway around how the net stable funding ratio treats derivative liabilities, allowing countries to lower the minimum requirement with a floor of 5% from 20%. The committee said it is considering whether the treatment of derivative liabilities needs any revisions and will conduct public consultations for any proposed changes.

* Deutsche Börse AG is stepping up efforts to pull euro derivatives clearing from the U.K. ahead of Brexit with a plan to change Eurex Clearing's governance structure and share profits from the business with its members, insiders told the Financial Times. The plan, which will mirror the model used by London Stock Exchange Group Plc, is said to be at an advanced stage and will begin later this year.

UK AND IRELAND

* HSBC Holdings Plc has tapped John Flint to be its new CEO and has asked the Bank of England for approval to move forward with the appointment, The Sunday Times reported, citing unidentified sources. Flint, currently HSBC's head of retail banking and wealth management, has been rumored to be the front-runner to replace current CEO Stuart Gulliver, who is expected to step down in 2018.

* Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc Chairman Howard Davies warned the British government that it has less than six months to clinch a transitional Brexit agreement with the EU to prevent more financial services jobs from leaving the U.K., Sky News reported. Davies said financial institutions will likely trigger their contingency plans by March of next year if they do not get clarity on the terms of any transitional deal.

* Aviva Plc is in advanced discussions to acquire Dutch group Achmea BV's Irish life assurance, pensions and investment business Friends First, insiders told The Irish Times.

* Lancashire Holdings Ltd. said it expects to book aggregate estimated net ultimate losses in the range of $106 million to $212 million from hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and the earthquakes in Mexico, while stressing that the estimate is well within its modeled loss ranges for such catastrophic events.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* Philippe Brassac, CEO of Crédit Agricole SA, said in an interview with Handelsblatt that his bank would be interested in acquiring a stake of Commerzbank AG if it came up for sale.

* Storm "Xavier," which hit northern Germany last week, will cost insurers between €150 million and €200 million to cover damage claims, Tagesspiegel wrote.

* The employee organization of ERGO Group AG announced its opposition against plans by the insurer's management to sell its low-yielding life insurance business, Handelsblatt reported.

* Zurich-based wealth management firm Lakefield Partners AG will merge with Edrofin Asset Management AG, Finews wrote.

* The High Court of Justice in London ruled that an employee of LLB Verwaltung (Schweiz) AG, a unit of Liechtensteinische Landesbank AG, caused damages of €10 million in an embezzlement case in 2011 and that the bank was partly liable for the damages.

* The Swiss stock exchange launched an investigation against Banque Cantonale de Genève on suspicion of misinformation about dividend payments and a delayed announcement about the assumption of office of its new board chairman, Tages-Anzeiger wrote.

FRANCE AND BENELUX

* Mutual insurer Groupama SA has entered into exclusive negotiations with new energy enterprise China Tianying to sell its Portuguese subsidiary Groupama Seguros, according to l'Agefi.

* Reinsurer SCOR SE said it expects total private insured market loss for the recent hurricanes and earthquakes to reach $95 billion. The cost of the events is estimated at €430 million net of retrocession and tax for the third quarter.

* Dutch lender ABN AMRO Group NV has teamed up with the Dutch tax office to fight fraud, corruption and money laundering, Het Financieele Dagblad reported. Both parties will be sharing knowledge and information to combat corporate fraud, the paper said.

* AXA Bank Belgium SA plans to close 200 branches, or more than a third of its total network in Belgium, as it tries to reduce costs, De Tijd reported. That means AXA, which has 800,000 customers, will have about 400 branches left by 2020.

SPAIN AND PORTUGAL

* CaixaBank SA confirmed that it will move its headquarters to Valencia from Barcelona amid increasing political turmoil in the region of Catalonia, which is pushing for independence from Spain. The announcement came after fellow Catalan lender Banco de Sabadell SA said it would move to Alicante.

* Moody's warned that Catalonia's secession from Spain would have broad negative credit implications for a wide range of bond issuers in Spain and Catalonia, including banks, insurers and nonfinancial corporates. Meanwhile the IMF warned that tensions and uncertainty surrounding the Catalan crisis could impact investor confidence, Bloomberg News noted.

* Italian lender Banca Mediolanum SpA said it will move the legal base of its Spanish subsidiary to Valencia from Barcelona to keep the unit under the supervision of the ECB, Reuters noted.

* Holders of insurance contracts in Novo Banco SA's debt buyback agreement will be entitled to receive payments, according to a decision by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association. Discussions regarding the amount to be paid will begin on Oct. 9, Dinheiro Vivo reported. Meanwhile, reflecting positive expectations from the acquisition of Novo Banco by private equity firm Lone Star Funds, Moody's has upgraded the former's senior long-term credit assessment, Jornal de Negócios reported.

* Liberbank SA's shareholders will today vote on a capital increase of up to €500 million, designed to boost profitability and reduce the bank's real estate and nonperforming asset portfolio, Expansión reported.

ITALY AND GREECE

* Berkshire Hathaway Inc. last week agreed to buy about 9% of Italian insurance firm Società Cattolica di Assicurazione -Società Cooperativa, for a total of €115.9 million, Bloomberg News reported. Warren Buffett's insurer bought the stake from failed Italian bank Banca Popolare di Vicenza SpA. According to other news sources, the cooperative insurer is likely to become a joint stock company.

* Banca Carige SpA is expected to close a deal to sell its Milan headquarters on Oct. 10, according to Il Sole 24 Ore. The paper said BNP Paribas SA and various other potential investors are in the running to buy the asset, which has been valued at about €105 million to €107 million.

* Intesa Sanpaolo SpA is selling a portfolio of properties worth over €100 million that it took over following bankruptcy proceedings, wrote Il Sole 24 Ore, with Bain, Cerberus and Negentropy Capital Partners said to have presented offers.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Leaked documents seen by The Guardian showed that Iceland's prime minister, Bjarni Benediktsson, sold several million krona worth of assets in Glitnir's investment fund shortly before the government bailed out the financial sector in 2008. The revelations come as Benediktsson faces a snap parliamentary election at the end of the month.

* The case against Danish mortgage bank Totalkredit A/S will return to court, Børsen reported. Totalkredit was originally fined 1 million Danish kroner, but the Consumer Ombudsman appealed the size of the fine.

EASTERN EUROPE

* PAO Bank ZENIT's main shareholder, Tatneft, tasked the lender's new management board chairman and his team with improving the bank's balance sheet, ensuring its operational profitability in 2018 and preparing it for sale in the future, Kommersant said.

* Sandor Csanyi, the CEO of Hungarian lender OTP Bank Nyrt., said the bank wants to increase its market share in Romania to up to 8%, Reuters reported, citing Romanian newspaper Ziarul Financiar. OTP Bank agreed in July to purchase Banca Româneasca SA from National Bank of Greece. After the transaction is finalized, OTP's Romanian market share is expected to reach around 4%.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: Far Eastern International Bank hacked; SBI Life gets nod to open Bahrain branch

Middle East & Africa: S&P revises Ghana outlook; Iran unveils fintech policy; US lifts Sudan sanctions

Latin America: Tropical Storm Nate kills 22; Old Mutual mulls sale of LatAm units

NOW FEATURED ON S&P GLOBAL MARKET INTELLIGENCE

Bank of England: We must deepen understanding of risks of high-frequency trading: The regulator needs to deepen its understanding of risks associated with increasingly fast algorithmic trading, and market participants must make sure that risk management tools can cope with the speed at which these markets are capable of moving.

Monte dei Paschi plans listing amid restructuring, customer confidence worries: The Italian government and analysts are optimistic the market will welcome the world's oldest extant bank back to the stock market despite a weak customer deposit base and lingering reputation damage after its near-collapse in 2016.

European bond market could see 'violent' moves as ECB tapers: With the European Central Bank set to exit quantitative easing, European yields may finally be on a sustained upward trend. Some analysts expect a violent reaction in parts of the market.

Ben Meggeson, Arno Maierbrugger, Danielle Rossingh, Esben Svendsen, Beata Fojcik, Heather O'Brian, Stephanie Salti, Praxilla Trabattoni and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.

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