* The British pound rose against the U.S. dollar yesterday after the European Union and the U.K. announced that they have agreed on a draft 21-month transition deal to phase in Brexit, cutting the chances of a cliff-edge British departure from the bloc. The agreement, however, will not be binding without a wider agreement on Britain's withdrawal, of which the issue of the Northern Irish border is a main sticking point.
UK AND IRELAND
* U.K. Financial Conduct Authority CEO Andrew Bailey said rules holding bank managers accountable for misconduct under their watch and the ability to take back bonuses from misbehaving officials have been key to improving culture in Britain's financial services industry. Bailey also called on companies to pursue diversity at the workplace.
* Meanwhile, Bailey told the Financial Times that the light-touch regulatory approach that prevailed before the global financial crisis was "history," following criticism of being soft on misconduct following a leak of its report into alleged abuses of small businesses by Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc's now-defunct Global Restructuring Group.
* RBS is working on plans to create a stand-alone digital challenger bank as it looks to compete with digital challengers such as Monzo and Revolut, insiders told Sky News. The U.K. lender has reportedly set aside tens of millions of pounds for the new digital platform, although the plan is still in early stages.
* HSBC Holdings Plc intends to issue about $4 billion of contingent convertible bonds.
* Association of British Insurers Director General Huw Evans welcomed the Brexit transition deal, but stressed that it only gives insurance customers "some temporary certainty" on certain issues.
* The British government will introduce today at parliament's upper house the Civil Liability Bill, aimed at reforming the law of England and Wales relating to whiplash claims and the way the personal injury discount rate, or Ogden rate, is set.
* Britain's government is giving the country's pensions regulator greater powers allowing it to impose punitive fines on firms found to have deliberately put their pension schemes at risk.
* Singapore's central bank fined the local units of Standard Chartered Plc S$6.4 million over breaches of anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing requirements. StanChart CEO Bill Winters, meanwhile, stressed that the bank does not have "a compliance-related problem," days after it placed compliance chief Neil Barry on leave. Winters also dismissed speculation about the potential acquisition of StanChart by a Chinese bank as "completely misplaced," The Nikkei wrote.
* British junior finance minister John Glen said the U.K. government and regulators are set to conduct a more detailed review of potential risks posed by the "explosion of growth" in crypto assets such as bitcoin.
* Former Barclays Plc trader David Fotheringhame, who was fired by the bank after a 2015 order from the New York State Department of Financial Services, has won in his unfair dismissal lawsuit against the lender, Bloomberg News reported.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA
* Jörg Kukies, co-head of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in Germany and Austria, is set to become deputy finance minister of Germany. Wolfgang Fink would now serve as the sole head of the U.S. lender in Germany and Austria.
* Pictet & Cie Group SCA's Singapore-based unit Bank Pictet & Cie (Asia) Ltd. obtained approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore to operate as a wholesale bank.
* Pictet Asset Services, the fund administration service unit of Pictet & Cie, is shutting down its booking platform for independent asset managers in Hong Kong, Singapore and the Bahamas, Finews noted.
* Switzerland's attorney general froze several hundred million Swiss francs on accounts at unnamed Swiss banks suspected to be funds paid by energy companies Eni SpA and Royal Dutch Shell Plc to a former Nigerian energy minister in order to obtain oil production licenses off Nigeria's coast, AWP reported.
FRANCE AND BENELUX
* Andrea Rossi, CEO of Axa Investment Managers SA, said luring Asian investors to Europe is one of the key ways that the Axa unit will expand in the coming years, adding that he expects a lot of consolidation in the industry, Bloomberg News reported.
* Rijnhard van Tets, chairman of Euronext NV's supervisory board, is stepping down in May. Current Vice Chairman Dick Sluimers has been elected as next chairman, subject to regulatory approval.
* ABN Amro Group NV is set to boost its digital impact fund to €50 million from €10 million, Het Financieele Dagblad reported. The fund invests in new companies in the fintech sector.
SPAIN AND PORTUGAL
* Liberbank SA is planning to present a nonbinding offer to acquire Banco Caixa Geral SA, the Spanish subsidiary of Portuguese lender Caixa Geral de Depósitos SA, Expansión reported.
* Aeris Invest, the investment arm of Chile's richest family, has demanded that Banco Santander SA reimburse the €113.02 million that it invested in 145.14 million Banco Popular Español SA shares prior to their merger last year, Expansión reported.
* Bankia SA has completed the integration of its technology platform with that of Banco Mare Nostrum SA, roughly two months after the completion of their legal merger, Expansión wrote.
ITALY AND GREECE
* Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA's shares ended below the €3 threshold yesterday for the first time since being readmitted to the stock market, with the share of the Italian state, which holds a 68.2% stake and invested €5.4 billion in the bank, falling to €2.4 billion, Il Sole 24 Ore wrote. Il Messaggero also covered.
* The Finnish FSA has resolved to tighten the maximum loan-to-collateral ratio for loans other than first-home purchases by 5 percentage points to 85%, effective July 1, in a bid to curb debt accumulation.
* Nordjyske Bank A/S hired Danske Bank and a law firm to advise it on an offer from Jyske Bank A/S and other possible offers, Berlingske Business reported. Analysts said one or two offers are possible, but that Jyske Bank will most likely win.
* JSC VTB Bank Ukrainian unit PJSC BM Bank decided to terminate its banking activities, Vedomosti wrote. The lender said the decision is in line with VTB Group's strategy to optimize its Ukraine presence.
* Polish postal operator Poczta Polska plans to sell shares in Bank Pocztowy SA, Rzeczpospolita reported, naming Pocztowy minority shareholder PKO Bank Polski SA as one of potential buyers.
* Meanwhile, PKO decided to open a corporate branch in London, Rzeczpospolita reported, adding that the branch is expected to become operational by 2018-end.
* GetBack SA main shareholder Abris plans to participate in the Polish debt collector's upcoming private share offering with a view to maintaining an over 60% stake in the company, news agency PAP reported.
* China-based CEFC Group withdrew its request for the Czech central bank to approve a stake increase in J&T Finance Group SE to 50%, citing ownership structure changes in CEFC Europe, E15 said. Reuters reported that CITIC Group Corp. is in talks to acquire a stake of up to 49% in the European unit of CEFC Group.
* Hungary-based OTP Bank Nyrt. said its management will continue to pursue its policy of expansion in central and eastern Europe despite the Romanian central bank's opposition to its acquisition of Banca Româneasca SA from National Bank of Greece SA. The Greek lender, meanwhile, said it is considering "various strategic options" for its Romanian subsidiary.
* The Latvian government is planning to cut its banks' links with shell companies as part of cleanup measures, following a warning from the U.S. that it needs to have better controls given its status as a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: Bandhan Bank IPO 14.6x oversubscribed on final day; ANZ weighs NZ unit's float
Middle East & Africa: Kenya rate cut for 1st time since 2016; Saudi eyes Tadawul-only Aramco IPO
Latin America: DBRS lowers Brazil; Chile appoints new BancoEstado president
North America: CFPB COO to leave; Point72 president resigns amid discrimination lawsuit
North America Insurance: Insurer ordered into liquidation; Blue plans post 25% rise in premiums in 2017
NOW FEATURED ON S&P GLOBAL MARKET INTELLIGENCE
Spain could sell Bankia to rival, but would face major hurdles: Majority state-owned Bankia has to be privatized by 2019 and could be the final piece in the puzzle in the consolidation of Spain's banking market, but analysts say a sale to another bank would not come without challenges.
New Irish law could push private equity out of toxic loan market, dampen sales: As three of the country's biggest banks prepare to sell billions of nonperforming loans, a new law requiring purchasers of such portfolios submit to Central Bank of Ireland supervision, could shrink the market and depress prices.
Sheryl Obejera, Arno Maierbrugger, Danielle Rossingh, Esben Svendsen, Beata Fojcik, Yael Schrage, Brian McCulloch, Sophie Davies and Helen Popper contributed to this report.
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