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Pru sells US broker/dealer network; Swiss Life posts profit; Nordea probed

* Germany's constitutional court declined to hear a challenge to the ECB's quantitative easing program and instead sent it to the European Court of Justice, Reuters reported. The challenge, lodged by academics and politicians, argued that the ECB's asset purchase scheme constitutes illegal monetary financing and so the Deutsche Bundesbank, the biggest buyers of bonds in the program, should not participate.

UK AND IRELAND

* Prudential Plc, via unit National Planning Holdings Inc., sold its U.S. independent broker/dealer network to LPL Financial LLC for an initial purchase price of $325 million. The network consists of INVEST Financial Corp., Investment Centers of America Inc., National Planning Corp. and SII Investments Inc.

* The British government is expected to finalize on Friday the £2.3 billion sale of UK Green Investment Bank Ltd. to Australia's Macquarie Group Ltd., insiders told Bloomberg News.

* Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc plans to further reduce London-based IT jobs by 2020, impacting 650 employees, according to U.K. trade union Unite. The cuts, coupled with a reduction in the number of contractors will lead to a total cut of 880 staff, in addition to the 600 job cuts announced last year. A spokesman for the bank said the proposal were still at a very early stage, and that while it was downsizing in London it also plans to "reinvest" in other parts of the country, The Daily Telegraph wrote.

* Admiral Group Plc reported first-half profit attributable to equity holders of the parent of £163.2 million, up from £157.4 million a year earlier, and proposed an interim dividend of 56.0 pence per share, up from the year-ago 51.0 pence per share excluding additional capital return.

* Aviva Plc is among companies weighing offers for Norwegian state-owned energy company Statkraft's stakes in U.K. wind farms, insiders told Bloomberg News.

* U.K. car finance providers continue to take on more credit risk by offering cheaper and new forms of car finance in a bid to attract customers as vehicle sales decline and rising import prices come into force, three of the Bank of England's regional agents have warned in a blog post. The Financial Times covered.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* Frankfurt already received 15 commitments from international banks to set up their new EU divisions in Germany's financial hub in the wake of Brexit, Hesse's minister for economy, Tarek Al-Wazir, told Wiesbadener Nachrichten, adding that this could bring 5,000 new jobs to the city in the coming years or even 10,000 in the event of a "hard Brexit."

* Deutsche Bank AG named Tom Patrick, head of its global equities business, new CEO for its U.S. operations and the Americas region, replacing Bill Woodley, who is leaving the bank.

* Swiss Life Holding AG reported unaudited consolidated first-half net profit attributable to equity holders of the company of CHF521 million, up from CHF499 million a year ago.

* Swiss asset management firm Prime Partners SA has agreed to pay $5 million to settle U.S. charges that it helped its American clients open and maintain undeclared foreign bank accounts from 2001 to 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

* UBS Group AG is seeking to charge clients roughly $40,000 a year for basic equity research once the EU's enhanced Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, or MiFID II, takes effect in January 2018, insiders told Bloomberg News.

* Credit Suisse Group AG has been transferring thousands of customer accounts that were left behind after it closed its U.S. retail brokerage business last year to small Manhattan, N.Y.-based stock broker firm Beech Hill Securities Inc., AdvisorHub reported. The accounts are believed to be worth more than $100 million and include low-priced securities and other illiquid assets.

* ProCredit Holding AG & Co. KGaA considers a capital increase in a double-digit million euro range to back its growing credit portfolio, Börsen-Zeitung wrote.

FRANCE AND BENELUX

* Société Générale SA's U.K.-based wealth management arm, SG Kleinwort Hambros Bank Ltd., appointed Stuart Barnett chairman designate, Reuters wrote. He will replace Warwick Newbury, who is retiring.

* The ECB has approved the merger of Dutch asset managers Theodoor Gilissen and Insinger de Beaufort, De Telegraaf reported. The merger will reportedly be completed in the fourth quarter.

* Belgium's central bank has told insurer DKV to raise its premiums to avoid a €15 million deficit, De Tijd reported. It means tens of thousands of Belgians will need to pay more for their hospitalization insurance. L'Echo also covered.

SPAIN AND PORTUGAL

* The ECB published its nonconfidential version of the evaluation carried out on Banco Popular Español SA that led to the winding down of the bank and its flash sale to Banco Santander SA, indicating that what led to the entity suffering a worsening in its liquidity position was the "significant depletion of its deposits," Expansión reported.

* Bankia SA's new mortgage-backed financing reached €1.09 billion in the first half, more than twofold the total registered in the same period of the previous year, Europa Press reported. Liberbank SA's mortgage-backed financing, meanwhile, increased 95% year over year, El Confidencial wrote.

* Portugal's Novo Banco SA will offer bondholders an interest rate of between 1% and 6.84% on deposits generated as part of a debt swap that is a key condition of the state-rescued lender's sale to U.S. private equity fund Lone Star, Jornal de Negócios and Jornal Económico reported.

* Meanwhile, Novo Banco said it would start contacting overseas savers and investors hit by the collapse of its predecessor, Banco Espírito Santo SA, to explain a new offer to compensate 75% of their lost capital, Jornal de Negócios and Jornal Económico reported.

ITALY AND GREECE

* U.S.-based private equity firm Värde Partners Inc. is "bidding extremely aggressively" to take over Greece-based Eurobank Ergasias SA's Romanian unit, Bancpost SA, according to Ziarul Financiar. Until Värde's arrival in the frame, Banca Transilvania SA was believed to be the favorite to buy the bank.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Danish police have raided Swedish banking group Nordea Bank AB (publ)'s office in Copenhagen as part of an investigation into potential breaches of anti-money laundering regulations by unit Nordea Bank Danmark A/S, Reuters reported. Police inspector Thomas Riis said authorities have seized a number of documents and data from the lender. Nordea said it intends to fully cooperate with prosecutors in relation to the probe. Berlingske Business also covered.

* Topdanmark A/S raised its posttax profit guidance for 2017 to between 1.25 billion Danish kroner and 1.35 billion kroner from between 1.10 billion kroner and 1.20 billion kroner previously, as it reported second-quarter post-tax profit of 474 million kroner, up from 425 million kroner in the year-ago period.

* Swedbank AB (publ) has completed its acquisition of PayEx Holding AB, after obtaining approval from competition authorities in Sweden and Norway.

* The Danish Financial Supervisory Authority has criticised Dronninglund Sparekasse after a recent inspection, saying it is taking too many risks, Finanswatch reported. The regulator ordered the small savings bank to strengthen its risk management, among other things. The bank's solvency requirements were also raised to 12.4% from 11.3%.

* Svenska Handelsbanken AB (publ) said it appointed Hannu Saari head of a new department that will be tasked to oversee group-wide measures to counteract financial crime. Saari, head of the group's operations in Luxembourg and France, will take on his new post Sept. 1.

* Denmark's Agricultural Finance Bank is being closed down and its activities will be taken over by DLR Kredit A/S, Finans reported.

EASTERN EUROPE

* Faced with low loan demand in Russia, PAO Promsvyazbank is turning to Africa to expand its business, Reuters reported, citing Alexander Meshcheryakov, the lender's head of transaction, documentary and international businesses. The bank intends to focus on providing financing for Africa-based projects, but could consider opening a branch on the continent in the future, Meshcheryakov was cited as saying.

* The introduction of an asset tax negatively affected the issuance of corporate loans by Polish lenders, with large local companies turning for cheaper financing to foreign lenders, Rzeczpospolita reported, adding that the trend is particularly visible in the real estate segment, in the case of loan renewals.

* Turkey's Akbank TAS said it has renewed a syndicated loan amounting $543 million and €515 million from international markets.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: UK's Green Bank sale nears completion; Monex to start online brokerage ops

Middle East & Africa: Leumi, Hapoalim Q2 profits drop; Yemen floats riyal; Algerian PM replaced

Latin America: BNDES reports 1H earnings; only 5 of 10 new banks in Mexico earning

North America: Goldman leads banks on fintech venture bets; Berkshire buys into Synchrony

North America Insurance: CBO to release report on ACA payments; Berkshire makes 2 new investments

NOW FEATURED ON S&P GLOBAL MARKET INTELLIGENCE

Data Dispatch EMEA: I-bank Q2 revenues plummet as low market volatility hurts FICC: A strong recovery in equity issuance in both the U.S. and Europe was not enough to help top investment banks offset the sharp drop in fixed-income, currencies and commodities revenues caused by the ongoing lack of volatility.

World's largest banks paid £264B in conduct charges over five years: Fines, legal bills and compensation cost 20 of the world's largest banks a combined £264 billion during the five years up to the end 2016, according to a new report from CCP Research Foundation.

Sheryl Obejera, Arno Maierbrugger, Danielle Rossingh, Esben Svendsen, Beata Fojcik, Mike Hatzidakis, Ali Kayalar, Heather O'Brian, Stephanie Salti, Praxilla Trabattoni and Helen Popper contributed to this report.

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