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Daily Dispatches - Profits up, jobs down at Big Four Down Under

Jobs getting the ax at Aussie banks

Australia's banking giants are still raking in the profits, but staff are having less of a good year, with job numbers at three of the big four down in 2014, says the Sydney Morning Herald

Westpac, NAB and ANZ have cut more than 1900 full-time jobs between them in the past year in a drive to cut costs and increase productivity.

SMH says Commonwealth Bank was the only lender to expand its employee ranks over the financial year.National Australia Bank unleashed the deepest cuts to its workforce, cutting 1172 positions over the year to September, including 504 in the second half.

Singapore sovereign wealth funds expand their reach 

Singapore’s Temasek and GIC Private are increasing investment activity in Europe this year, according to a Financial Times report.

GIC has bought 28.5% in Rothesay Life and Temasek has acquired a small interest in Lloyds Banking Group.

Foreign insurers gaining ground in China

The share of foreign insurers in the Chinese insurance market increased half a percentage point to 3.7% in the first nine months of the year, or half a percentage point higher than for the corresponding period last year, says the Asian Insurance Review neswletter, adding further weight to the growth in the market in Asia.

Japanese gangster scandal spreads to more banks

The country's financial regulator has started inspecting two of the nation’s largest banks today after finding Mizuho Financial Group  failed to end loans to the yakuza (organised crime) syndicates, Bloomberg reports. The banks now facing scrutiny are Mitsubishi Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group.

Four people who will rake in the riches on Twitter IPO

The social site is expected to secure a valuation of around US13.6 billion. The Sydney Morning Herald says these five people will, individually, make the following on the listing:

Former CEO Evan Williams, whose 12% is worth $1.6 billion;  co-founder Jack Dorsey with 4.9%, which is valued at $666 million; CEO Dick Costolo (a former comedian) owns 1.6% which is worth about $218 million; Adam Bain, resident of global revenue, whose shareholding could be cashed in for around $136 million.

Huge growth potential in Islamic finance in ASEAN

Muhammad Zubair Mughal, CWO of AlHuda Center of Islamic Banking and Economics, says there are multiple opportunities in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to promote Islamic finance, according to Asian Banking & Finance.

Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam already have significant contributions in Islamic banking, takaful, sukuk and Islamic funds. The Philippines and Thailand are being considered as future potential markets for Islamic banking and finance in ASEAN.

AUTHORAmanda Vermeulen

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