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Daily Dispatches - 'Tis the season to be jolly but don't enjoy yourself too much

Taking the glitz out of Christmas parties (Photo credit: paparutzi)

Big banks in London's financial services industry are taking a muted approach to celebrating the festive season this year, with low-key parties on a budget - and some even being held in January when better prices can be negotiated.

Reuters reports that with the banks still reeling from being battered by vitriolic public opinion, many have decided to opt for "decency over debauchery".

"We can't be seen to be enjoying ourselves," said one senior investment banker told Reuters.

Gone are the days of lavish meals and champagne on tap - London's financial services firms are now "chipping in 'modest' sums of between 20 and 50 pounds ($81.63) per head for Christmas parties, or employees are funding their own celebrations'.

Australian insurers set for another good year of growth

The Australian life insurance industry will continue to see strong top-line growth after having expanded at a compound average growth rate of around 13% in the last six years, says Asian Insurance Review quoting a new report by Fitch. Earnings are expected to remain under pressure in 2014, affected by rising lapse and claims rates in addition to reduced investment earnings from lower interest rates.

Woori deal could spark consolidation in Korean securities sector

Bloomberg says that the sale of Woori Investment & Securities in the biggest takeover of a South Korean broker may spark consolidation among local securities firms, furthering the government’s goal of creating a national champion.

The Financial Services Commission said it would encourage further consolidation by allowing brokerages to enter into new businesses if they make acquisitions.Commission chairman Shin Je Yoon said last week that governmenmt's goal is "creating the Goldman Sachs of Korea"

Credit Agricole planning private banking expansion in Singapore

Credit Agricole Private Banking chief executive Sen Sui says the business is looking to strengthen its position in private banking in Asia, according to an interview with Asia Banking & Finance.

Banks speeding Asia promotions doubles rate of pay raises

Banks across Asia are putting local employees on a fast track to senior roles to deter staff from being poached by rivals, according to an article published by Livemint.

One area that has performed particularly well is  risk and compliance, with staff pay rising 20% in Singapore and Hong Kong over the past year compared to 10% in London and New York.

UAE's ADS Securities opens office in Hong Kong 

ADS Securities Hong Kong Limited is the first fully licensed and regulated office the company has set-up outside of the UAE.  The Hong Kong office will work in conjunction with ADS Securities’ Singapore office, according to CPI Financial.

AUTHORAmanda Vermeulen

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