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Standard Bank, Stanlib merge index-tracking arms; Equity Bank taking over loans


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Standard Bank, Stanlib merge index-tracking arms; Equity Bank taking over loans

* Despite resilient capital and asset quality, many financial institutions in Europe, the Middle East and Africa face worsened threats to profitability as negative rates persist and economic growth continues to weaken, S&P Global Ratings said in a report.

* U.S. lender JPMorgan Chase & Co. expects long-term growth for its Middle Eastern business despite economic slowdown in the region, The National reported, citing Sjoerd Leenart, the bank's global head of corporate banking. JPMorgan is looking at leveraging on sovereigns and corporates' appetite to issue debt, attract investment and drive M&A.

* Jürg Zeltner will give up his seat at the supervisory board of Deutsche Bank AG as regulators are expected to block his appointment due to a conflict of interest, insiders told German newspaper Handelsblatt. Zeltner, currently CEO and co-investor of Luxembourg-based KBL European Private Bankers SA, was appointed to the Frankfurt-based lender's board as the representative of the Qatari royal family.


* Although measures taken after Dubai's recession in 2019 allow banks in the United Arab Emirates to better deal with increased defaults, their exposure to real estate may still leave them vulnerable amid a weakening economy, rising provisions and tumbling property prices, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data. As of the second quarter, banks' lending to the real estate and construction sector made up 20% of their total loans, up from 18% in 2015.

* Dubai-based International General Insurance Holdings Ltd. signed a definitive business combination agreement with special purpose acquisition company Tiberius Acquisition Corp., under which both firms will merge under a new Bermuda-domiciled holding company, International General Insurance Holdings Ltd., Bermuda, and then publicly trade on the Nasdaq Capital Market under the symbol IGIC.

* Islamic Arab Insurance Co. (Salama) PJSC intends to increase its foreign ownership cap to 49%, the maximum limit allowed by laws in the UAE. The company also plans to reduce its paid-up capital of 1.21 billion dirhams by about a third to offset losses of roughly 394.0 million dirhams incurred in recent years. The plans remain subject to pertinent approvals.

* The CEO of the United Arab Emirates' Securities and Commodities Authority, Obaid Saif Hamad al-Zaabi, said the regulator plans to establish local agencies to stimulate sukuk issuance in local currency and is reviewing a plan to regulate transactions in the capital market of non-listed firms, WAM reported.

* The number of exchange bureaus in the UAE has declined considerably to 552 branches from 2011 branches as they failed to meet central bank requirements, Emarat Al Youm reported.

* Saudi Arabia's central bank ordered financial institutions in the country to hire Saudi nationals for leadership roles in alignment with the government's Vision 2030 goals, Reuters reported. The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority will require companies that do not hire Saudi nationals to explain their decision.

* United Electronics Co. fully owned subsidiary United Co. for Financial Services has obtained preliminary approval from the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority to provide credit card services.

* Noor Investment appointed Abdullah Khalifa al-Mansour al-Mohammed head of risk management, replacing Zahid al-haq Abdulhak.

* Al Madina for Finance and Investment has recommended that the company's article of association be amended and its activities to be canceled.


* Morocco-based Banque Centrale Populaire bought the entirety of Republic of the Congo-based Banque Commerciale Internationale from French lender Groupe BPCE, Reuters reported. With the deal, BCP now operates in 30 nations. It also bought a 68.5% stake in Cameroon-based Banque Internationale du Cameroun Pour l'Epargne et le Crédit from BPCE early this month.

* Egypt's Financial Regulatory Authority cleared a plan to lower stock exchange trading fees as the country seeks to spur investment and competitiveness with other regional markets, Reuters noted. The proposal will now be sent to cabinet for final approval.

* Kais Saied is set to win Tunisia's presidential elections based on exit polls, having received 76% of the votes, BBC News reported. Official election results are yet to be released.

* The Palestine Monetary Authority adopted a special bank account disclosure system or know-your-customer database in a bid to prevent financial crime in the country, the Middle East Monitor reported.


* Equity Bank (Kenya) Ltd. will take over loans of about 2 billion shillings that have been advanced to East African Cables by banks including Standard Chartered Bank Kenya Ltd. and Ecobank Kenya Ltd., Business Daily Africa reported.

* Fitch Ratings affirmed Ghana's B/B long- and short-term local- and foreign-currency issuer default ratings, with stable outlooks on the long-term ratings. The agency also affirmed West African nation's country ceiling at B.


* South Africa's Standard Bank Group Ltd. and Stanlib Asset Management Ltd. combined their index-tracking businesses into a single entity called "1nvest" as financial firms the country turn to passive investment products, Business Day reported.

* Standard Bank Namibia Ltd. plans to sell a 16% stake through an IPO on the local bourse for 8.90 Namibian dollars per share, The Namibian reported. The planned offering is slated for Nov. 15.

* Moody's said weak institutional environment and rising public and external debt hamper on Cameroon's credit profile, with domestic political risk driving event risk due to succession risks and tensions ahead of this month's legislative elections.


Asia-Pacific: China to scrap foreign ownership caps in 2020; Australia to probe big 4 banks

Sheryl Obejera, Henni Abdelghani, Sophie Davies and Helen Popper contributed to this report.

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This S&P Global Market Intelligence news article may contain information about credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings. Descriptions in this news article were not prepared by S&P Global Ratings.